Why are Duck feathers waterproof?
The white, beautiful birds with their orange beaks and webbed feet, how cute do these ducks look when they go ‘quack quack’! Ducks are birds that can fly and swim.
When you take a bath you get soaked in water, your hair gets wet and it takes a while for it to dry. Notice a duck when she is swimming in a pool. You will see that even if they are in water, the feathers of the duck seem to be totally dry. So why do duck feathers stay dry… are they waterproof?
Ducks Feathers – How do they stay dry?
Ducks spend a lot of their time nibbling their feathers with their beaks. This act is known as preening. Ducks have a special gland positioned near their tails; called the preen gland. The preen gland produces an oil which the ducks rub all over their feathers. This oil creates a barrier so that the feathers do not become waterlogged; thus making the feathers waterproof. Since duck feathers do not soak water, they also weigh less than they would if their feathers absorbed water.
Beneath the first layer of feathers is another layer of soft feathers. The outer feathers act as a raincoat or a waterproof barrier to protect the inner feathers which keep the ducks warm.
This requires constant maintenance so it becomes essential for ducks to constantly preen themselves to help keep them in good shape and continue spreading the oil all over their body. Ducks would drown if they did not have their special preen gland.