Do Ducks Have Ears? (And How Do They Hear?)

Ducks, like any other birds, don’t have an external auricle, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t have ears.

Ducks have ears, they just are different from what we have, they have small holes on the sides of their head that are only visible by moving the hair covering them.

What Is The Structure Of Ducks’ Ears?

The inner ear of ducks is in the nasal cavity and is made up of three parts: the cochlea, the semicircular canal and the vestibule. The cochlea, which is a tubular structure with a wavy middle, is suspended by ligaments from the facial skeleton, which can be seen externally just behind the eye.

The semicircular canal wraps around each of the two side lobes of the cochlea. The semicircular canal is shaped like a half circle and is part of the inner ear. It’s lined with epithelium cells that are embedded with cilia. When sound waves hit them, they create pressure in the fluid inside the canal and compress it into waves that move through to the cochlea and then to other parts of the inner ear.

The vestibule is also part of ear tissue as it’s attached to each side lobe of cochlea which also includes hair cells like those in your eardrum.

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

How Do Ducks Ears Work?

Being that ducks don’t have an auricle to collect sound, their hearing works in a very different way:

The bird’s body has “organized” itself to find an alternative mechanism and still manages to process and understand sounds coming from different angles, even locating them without the help of performing ears like ours.

It works thanks to the shape of their head, the oval shape of the cranium and a process called: head-related transfer function.

Using their head as an acoustic filter to different frequencies of sounds, ducks can perceive background noise and allow them to filter out the sounds they have learned are irrelevant (for example birds calling) in order to only “hear” the sounds they want (for example humans).

Image by Bernhard Rauch from Pixabay

See Also: Do Ducks Have Eyelashes?

Do Ducks Have Good Hearing?

Ducks’ hearing is said to be pretty good, being able to hear sounds from up to 150 meters away, and recognize the difference between sounds of different frequencies or “tones”.

Behind everything else, the most impressive feature of the duck’s hearing is its ability to localize sounds thanks to the superposition of different tones.

See Also: Do Ducks Have Tongues?

In Summary

Ducks do have ears, but they are very different from ours, they are located on the side of their head, like all birds. they process the sounds different from us, by using their head shape to process the soundwaves since they don’t have an external part of the ears like mammals do.

Ducks’ hearing is also excellent, they can hear noises up to 150 meters away and recognize the difference between sounds of different frequencies or “tones”.