Do Ducks Have Tongues? (Interesting Facts)

Ducks do have tongues, yes, but they are very different from the tongues of humans and other creatures. Their tongues are flat and sort of paddle like.

Their tongue helps them swallow the water and small creatures which they eat. They use their bill to scoop water or other items into their mouth, and their tongue moves the items into their mouth and down their throat, which allows them to swallow.

Do Ducks Have Taste Buds?

It’s been reported that ducks have around 400 to 500 taste buds, which is less than the number of taste buds in humans (which is around 10,000) but, of course, it should be taken into consideration that ducks have a much smaller tongue than humans, too.

Their sensitivity to taste is quite refined as they are able to detect the presence of various metallic elements in water such as copper, zinc, and iron. This sensitivity is most likely a response to their natural diet of aquatic plants and animals found in ponds, rivers, and lakes.

What Does a Duck’s Tongue Look Like?

It is not a strange question to ask since it’s not often that they will show it off. Although their tongues are quite fascinating because it’s one of the first features that people usually notice about ducks.

The tongue is composed of soft tissue and is located in the upper bill of nearly all ducks, except for the Muscovy Duck which has a bare patch of skin on the upper bill. The tongue is covered in papillae, or tiny, bristle-like projections, which help with feeding and swallowing.

Ducks have flat, broad tongues that are rectangular in shape. Their tongue is not really “flat”, though, it is more like a paddle because the front part of their tongue is thinner than the back part. There are no side to side movements in the tongue and it has a slit-shaped opening where food is placed.

See Also: Do Ducks Have Eyelashes?

Can Ducks Taste Sweet?

Yes, ducks can taste sweets. They can also taste bitter, salty, and sour (yes, they can taste acid levels in their food) and are even able to detect metallic elements (such as zinc).

Ducks can taste pretty much anything you and I can taste. However, their taste buds are considered to be less sensitive than humans.

How Do Ducks Eat Their Food?

Ducks do not have teeth to chew their food. They swallow their food whole, or if it’s a worm or some other type of meat, they can tear it apart with their sharp beaks. 

If a large prey is swallowed whole, they will use their pointed “bill” to break the prey up into smaller pieces. They will also drop and shake food as needed to determine if it’s edible and then, with their mouth, they will manipulate the food so it can fit through their esophagus and into their stomachs.  

How Do Ducks Drink Water?

Ducks use a separate organ called a “bill” to draw up water. It works just like a straw and they can suck up water into their mouth or they can drink by inserting the bill into the water and then opening their beak.

The water then travels down the esophagus and into their stomach.

You can see the “process” here:

See Also: Do Ducks Have Noses?

Do Ducks Have Teeth?

No, ducks don’t have teeth, instead, they have hard, sharp edges on their bills that are used to tear apart their food. The duck’s beak is very strong and can act like an a wedge and break apart shells, stems, wood and other hard items.

For example, if a duck is eating a worm or some other type of meat, it can simply tear the meat apart by using the sharp edges of its bill. Ducks can also use their bill to help them draw food into their mouth.

The bill is made up of the hard keratin that also makes up their claws. As they grow older (and bigger), the edges of their bill can get sharper, giving them the appearance of having a dark blue or black beak. Ducks have a strong lower jaw and can open their mouth very wide; because of this, they can have a very wide gap.