How Many Legs Do Ducks Have – Do WINGS Count?

duck on a rock

How many legs do ducks have? Do their wings count as legs? Like all other birds, ducks only have 2 legs. Wings are another extremity of ducks, but they’re not considered legs and have different functions. Let’s learn a bit more about ducks by discussing how their legs work!

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How Many Legs Do Ducks Have?

Two duck feet and legs up close
If you’re interested in ducks or thinking about getting ducks then it’s important to know everything there is to know about them. Why not start with the basics?
Like other birds, ducks have only 2 legs. A duck’s legs are a prominent feature since it uses them for all three modes of transportation:
  • Swimming
  • Flying
  • Walking
Ducks can swim and float on water, but their legs aren’t designed for lengthy, exhausting journeys. A duck’s body positions its legs behind it, giving the duck an advantage in the water as it kicks backward to propel forwards. The strength and efficiency of their swimming are a direct result of the webbed, large feet they have. The strong talons on ducks’ feet allow them to walk on various surfaces, including branches, slippery pebbles, and land. In addition, their legs can be any of several colors, including yellow, red, orange, and pink. The feet of ducks have another unusual quality: they are immune to cold, even when submerged in water that’s much below freezing. This is because they don’t have any nerves or blood arteries in their feet. Read More: How to Keep a Duck Pond Clean Naturally. If you’re thinking of getting ducks, you’ll need to know how to keep their ponds clean (without harsh chemicals)!

What Are Duck Legs Called?

Brown duck standing on the ground
A duck’s legs and feet are significant to how a duck survives and gets around daily.
Ducks are distinguished by their webbed feet. The four types of webbed feet include:
  • palate
  • lobate
  • semipalmate
  • totipalmate
Ducks, swans, gulls, geese, and terns are just a few examples of the many waterbirds that have webbed feet. The most prevalent form of webbed foot, however, is found in palmates. Triangular toes are a distinguishing feature of palmate feet. It’s simple to spot a palmate foot because of the distinct separation between the back toe and the three webbed forefeet. As water birds, ducks typically have scales on their feet, which come in handy when they’re out foraging. It gives them more control when grasping for food. Their scales also allow them to travel easily on wet surfaces. Read More: What to Do for a Duck with a Broken Leg. If your duck is hurt, here’s a brief guide on how you can help it!

Do Ducks Have Feet or Flippers?

Ducks have feet instead of flippers. Flippers are limbs that have been widened and flattened to improve swimming abilities. Ducks are equipped with web feet. Webbed feet are great for walking on land, while flippers are more clumsy on land and are better suited for animals who spend the majority of their time under the water. Read More: Why Do Ducks Wag Their Tails? Learn about this cute duck behavior!

What Do Ducks Use Their Feet For?

Duck diving into water with feet in the air
Ducks use their feet to swim, walk on land, and even keep warm! If you ever see a duck raising one leg, it’s likely trying to preserve body heat.
The feet of ducks have a specialized form and play a significant role in daily activities for ducks. Some of the main things that ducks use their feet for include swimming, maintaining body heat, and escaping from predators.


A duck’s feet were designed to make swimming easier given that they spend the great bulk of their lives in the water. Their webbed feet and leg movements help them to paddle through the water. Here’s a video showing a closer look at how ducks use their feet to swim:

Read More: Why Do Ducks Quack So Much? Ducks are often heard quacking – and there are many reasons why!

Escape From Predators

While ducks aren’t the fastest creatures on land, they still use their legs to run away from predators and protect their nests. Their webbed feet can also send them to the other side of a pond relatively quickly to avoid a perceived threat coming their way.

Balance During Walking and Flying

Regardless of whether they are flying or walking, ducks can keep their balance thanks to the webbed feet they have. Only waterfowl can fly using only their feet as rudders, making them unique among birds. The webbing between their toes widens as the animal prepares to touch down by lowering its feet. Because of the increased resistance that’s produced, the birds can decrease their speed. Read our related article on How to Clip Duck Wing Feathers. Duck owners should know how to clip duck wings to prevent their flock from flying away.

Maintaining Body Temperature

Ducks’ feet don’t get cold in the water due to the lack of nerve endings and blood vessels, which helps to regulate their body temperature during the winter months. They can also use their feet to expel heat when the temperatures rise in the summer by lifting and lowering the right and left legs interchangeably. Read More: How to Pick Up a Duck. Knowing how to handle a duck and pick them up safely is important, especially when it comes to protecting its legs and feet.

Why Do Ducks Have Short Legs?

A duck’s short legs allow them to be a more efficient swimmer. Long legs would be awkward in the water and make swimming less of an advantage. Read More: How to Train Ducks to Follow You. This guide covers the top ways you can train your ducks!

Final Thoughts

Ducks have two legs and these two legs do a lot for these birds every single day. Ducks use their legs for everything from insulation, swimming, walking, and keeping away from predators. Knowing more about ducks can help you to understand how they live their everyday life.

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