Do Ducks Eat Cattails? (Explained!)

Cattails are tall grass-like plants with brown flower spikes that appear in wetlands during the early fall. You’ll often see them growing along streams and rivers, or as dense stands in marshy areas. They’re native to almost every region of the United States and Canada, except for the Great Plains and desert regions.

Cattails provide a home for many animals, so seeing cattails in your yard could be good news!

Ducks do eat cattails if they will have a chance even if they are not a primary food of choice in a pond, however, since their appetite is almost infinite so they will gladly snack on the tasty tender shoots, which is why you may see large flocks of ducks hanging out by cattail stands.

What Are Cattails?

Cattails are tall evergreen perennial plants in the genus Typha, which is in the family Typhaceae. There are two types of cattails: narrow-leaved cattail and broad-leaved cattail, and both species are common in North America.

Cattails prefer to grow in wet, marshy areas and along streams, rivers, lakes and ponds. Cattails are flowering plants that produce brown spikes that are composed of many tiny flowers.

Each spike grows up to 1 foot tall and resembles a fluffy tail.

The rootstock is edible year-round and can be peeled, dried and ground into flour. The cattail plant is often mistaken for other aquatic plants, like bulrushes, reed and palm.

Cattail is the easiest to identify because its “tail” is long and fluffy, while bulrushes, reed and palm tails are short and round.

Once established, cattails can provide habitat, food and shelter for many species of birds and mammals. Cattails provide food and shelter for many species of aquatic plants, fish, amphibians and crustaceans, reptiles and mammals, including ducks and geese.

These plants are a great habitat for waterfowl since they grow quickly, so they provide food and cover for birds in the early growth stages. They start growing in early spring, so they provide early nesting habitats for waterfowl and other species. Cattails also provide late-season food for waterfow, like migrating swans, ducks, teal and other species.

Are Ducks Good For Cattails?

Ducks love cattails and will eat the shoots and eat the roots. That is why you will see cattail stands with big flocks of ducks hanging out around them.

Cattails are not toxic or harmful to ducks in any way and have even some nutritional benefits, so they will help to contain them and enjoy a healthy snack.

Do Ducks Eat The Roots Of Cattails?

Ducks spend a lot of time foraging for food, so they’ll eat the roots of cattails just like they would any other plant of course!

The roots of cattails are edible year-round and can be peeled, dried and ground into flour. Cattail roots are a good source of starch, minerals and vitamins, so they can even be added to their feed.

Cattail roots store energy in the form of starch, which is why they are often called the “corn of the swamp.” Cattail roots can be harvested in late summer and fall and even after heavy frosts.

What Do Ducks Eat In Ponds?

Cattail is just one of many types of aquatic plants and bugs that ducks can eat at your pond. If you have any type of pond, it is important to keep it clean and vegetation free so that your ducks can get all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Ducks will eat any plants that are in their way, but they love to eat weeds!

And, they aren’t picky about what kind of weed! They’ll even go after plants like lily pads or water lilies if they’re hungry enough (although this is a good way to end up with duck poop in your water lilies – something people don’t want!).

See Also: Can Ducks Eat Duckweed

They will not just eat the pond vegetation though, they will actually eat the bugs and fish that live in there!

It’s important to keep the pond area as clean as possible so that your ducks can get all the nutrients they need. If there is too much algae or duckweed, your ducks can become sick! The green color of the duckweed is actually a sign that you have an unhealthy pond, despite how it may look!


Cattails are an important plant that provides food, shelter and structure for many organisms.

They are slow-growing perennials, so they need help getting established in new areas. Once established, cattails provide habitat, food and shelter for many species of mammals and birds,

ducks included!