Dive or Dabble?
Have you ever seen the back half of a duck sticking out of the surface of a body of water and wondered: what’s going on there? If so, you saw a dabbling duck who had found something good to eat. Dabbling ducks gather food by tipping forward, submerging their top halves, and catching something floating close to the surface of water with their beaks (such as crustaceans or insect larvae).
You are far less likely to have seen a diving duck searching for food because diving ducks totally disappear below the surface of water when they hunt. Diving ducks swim deep in order to harvest shellfish, fish, and plants way down below. I found a fabulous, 90-second clip from BBC’s Planet Earth showing diving ducks in the Arctic circle hunting for their suppers. You should definitely check it out!
I have two more links to share with you today. The first is a very short podcast from BirdNote discussing the differences between diving and dabbling ducks. The second is a video from the Missouri Department of Conservation on the same topic. Enjoy!