Nature photo challenge #4: Ducks

Welcome to the fourth nature photo challenge, which encourages us to get out and about, to photograph ducks.

I’ve chosen ducks for the next nature photo challenge because they are fairly common and easy to photograph, particularly in town parks. So they are ideal for beginning nature photographers. On the other hand, they present interesting challenges to the more advanced photographer. I have long attempted (and failed) to get a good shot of a duck in flight! Nor do I have any photos of sea ducks, as it’s more difficult to get close to them.

The Mallard is thought to be the most abundant duck on Earth, and the ancestor of most strains of domesticated duck. The male Mallard is instantly recognisable with its beautiful green head and yellow bill.

Male Mallard in all its finery

The female lacks the male’s glamour, but its plumage is beautiful in her own way:

Female Mallard
The female of the species

In my local park we’ve been blessed with a pair of Gadwalls recently too:

Male Gadwall
Male Gadwall
Female Gadwall on Nature Photo Challenge
Female Gadwall

A bit of background

While you are out looking at your local ducks, you may realize that they feed in two different ways. They are either dabblers or divers.

Dabblers usually find their food, such as aquatic plants and water insects, on or just below the surface of the water. They feed by skimming the water with their bills, or sweeping their bills from side to side. Sometimes a dabbler will tip themselves up so that their head is under the water and their bottom is sticking up in the air. They then nibble on submerged plants in the shallows.

Divers swim on the surface like dabblers but also dive underwater because they like to feed on the bottom of lakes. To do so, they have large, strong webbed feet to propel themselves through the water. Photographing a diving duck is more difficult. You get it in the picture and then it suddenly disappears as if by magic. After a while it reappears, sometimes quite a distance from where it dived down.

Ducks doing stuff

Finally, ducks are great fun to watch and photograph because they are always busy doing things, like …

Duck splashing
… bathing …
Duck preening
… preening…
Ducks sleeping #naturephotochallenge
… or sleeping!

So, there’s your challenge for the week ahead. Either scour your archives for your duck photos, or take your camera to your nearest stretch of water.

I would love to know what species of ducks inhabit your own local park, wherever you are in the world. Do you have some photos of ducks in flight, or just doing some of their many activities? And don’t hold back on your cute duckling pictures!

Good luck, and I look forward to seeing your duck pics! Remember, just add the tag Naturephotochallenge and/or add a link to your post below.

P.S. Only ducks! No grebes, geese or swans please, as they will be the subject of later challenges.


  1. A great set of duck photos, and interesting info about the two feeding methods. I’ve seen both but not registered the fact that different species use different methods – I think I assumed it was more random than that! I probably won’t join in this week as I think I’ve already shared all the ducks I have in past posts 😆


  2. Not many ducks around at the moment here so I had to dig into my folders for a few ducks Denzil
    Love the layout, photos and the information. I am glad that people have found out about the differences in ducks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful photos of different kind of ducks.
    So, now I found a new interesting Photo Challenge!! 😁 I’ve never taken any pictures of ducks here in Cyprus but I know I have some in my archive from when I lived in Malta. I’ll see if I find them.

    Liked by 1 person

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