You’ve probably heard people say that ducks have great eyesight or some variation of that. It’s easy to understand why people might think this is true: ducks spend a lot of time in the water and they don’t like getting out of it when humans are around. So, it must be because they can see us coming. right? Well, sort of. Ducks do have good eyesight, but their dislike of humans isn’t because of that.
What Is Good Eyesight?
Duck’s vision is better than human eyesight in most cases, but that doesn’t mean that their eyesight is “better”. What makes human eyesight “better” is our color vision. This means that we have the ability to see all of the different colors in the world around us. A duck’s vision is only black and white, so they cannot see the same things as we do. A duck will also be unable to see things as clearly as we do, and they will not be able to read as well. This is why ducks will always be looking at the ground as they walk and why they will probably never be able to drive.
Do Ducks Have Good Eyesight?
Ducks have very good eyesight. They do not have as good of eyesight as raptors/birds of prey but they do have excellent vision. Their eyes are adapted to see well both in the water and above the water. Ducks’ eyes are located on the sides of their heads, which gives them a wide field of vision. Their eyes are also set far back on their heads so that they can aim their beaks at predators without losing sight of them. Duck eyes also have a third eyelid that protects against dust and other particles while they are swimming in a dry land. When on land, ducks’ eyes constantly move from one side to the other to protect them from predators’ ambush. In the water, ducks’ eyes contract so that they can only use one eye at a time for depth judgment and prey tracking.
How Good Is A Duck’s Eyesight?
1. The duck retina has 12 million photoreceptors
Ducks have more photoreceptors in their retina than humans do, which is why they can see better than us. Humans have a total of 6 million photoreceptors, while ducks have around 12 million! Ducks see two or three times better than us, especially at dusk and dawn when there is not much light. If we compare human vision with that of ducks, we can say that ducks can see farther than we can but humans can recognize more colors than ducks can.
2. They can see ultraviolet light
Ducks can see ultraviolet light, which is a type of light that we can’t see. This is useful for them because there are many flowers that only bloom in ultraviolet light. Ducks can also see the blue light from the sky, which we can’t see. This is useful for them because it helps them navigate and find food in lakes and ponds.
3. Ducks have excellent hearing
Ducks have the highest hearing ability of all birds. In fact, they can hear almost 16 kHz, which is much more than the range a human can hear (20 Hz to 20 kHz). Ducks usually defend themselves by diving and flying away when they hear something that could be a threat to them.
4. Their eyes are almost completely hidden
The eyes of a duck are almost completely hidden by feathers and skin. They have very small openings for the eyes, which makes it harder for predators to spot them. The fact that their eyes are hidden also makes it difficult for them to see. This is why ducks use sound, smell, and touch to navigate.
Why Don’t Ducks Like Being Around Humans?
They smell bad to ducks.
Ducks have a very keen sense of smell and can sense predators from very long distances. When they land on a body of water, they scan the water for signs of approaching predators. If a human has visited the water recently, the duck will sense the “human smell” on the water and avoid the area. Ducks aren’t trying to be rude, they just prefer to stay away from areas where predators could be hiding. Humans often have odors that are quite different from those of other animals, which can be a warning sign for a duck. When we get close to waterfowl, our odors can cause them to become nervous and wary. Steering clear of humans allows the ducks to feel more comfortable and safe in their environment.
Humans scare them with their size.
Ducks are generally small, flightless birds that feed mostly on plants and small insects. Humans, on the other hand, are generally large, two-legged animals that feed mostly on meat, eggs, and dairy products. And while there’s nothing wrong with what either species eats, the difference in size and habitat use has caused animals like ducks to develop a fear of humans. The sound of our footsteps alone can make them nervous, but the sight of our large bodies can send them running away. Fortunately for both species, there are ways for humans and ducks to peacefully co-exist. If we want to get closer to ducks, we can use our size as an advantage. Finding a smaller body of water or bringing some feed from home are two ways we can make ducks feel more comfortable around us.
Ducks have a basic distrust of humans.
Ducks are social animals that often live in flocks and breed in pairs. Within a flock, they can recognize each other by their calls, as well as their feathers, eyes, and bill shapes. In some species, a few individuals will mate with each other and then help raise the younger birds. But humans often disrupt this normal social order. When the duck sees the human trying to touch, feed, or even capture them, it’s likely to have a negative reaction. They have been hunted for sport for centuries, after all. And many duck species have been raised for food for just as long. In some cases, humans are actively harmful to duck populations. We are often thoughtless about where we build our homes and how we use the land. Sometimes, we forget to leave room for ducks in our daily lives. Ducks, on the other hand, can be thoughtful and careful in their day-to-day lives. If they can be mindful of our needs, too, the two species can peacefully coexist.
People constantly try to touch ducks, which is a big no-no for them.
Ducks are often very clean animals that like to keep themselves and their nests clean and free of bugs. When humans try to touch them, we often spread germs and bacteria. This can lead to disease, especially if the duck already has a health condition. Ducks also like to keep their feathers clean and neat. When humans try to touch them, we often muck up the feathers, which can make the ducks feel dirty and uncomfortable. Likewise, if a human touches a duck’s nest, it could spread germs to the eggs or young birds. This could seriously endanger the duck’s future offspring.
How Far Away Can Ducks See?
- As mentioned above, a duck’s vision is very good in both bright light and low light conditions, but it’s important to know how far away they can see.
- Ducks typically have a visual range of 15-25 yards. This means that they can see a human approaching from that distance.
- This can be a problem for anyone who likes to feed ducks. Feeding ducks can cause them to become obese and is not good for them.
- What’s more, feeding ducks can also lead to them being a nuisance to people who do not want them around.
How Good Is A Duck’s Eyesight At Night?
- Ducks can see just as well at night as they can during the day. They have extremely large pupils that allow a ton of light to enter their eyes.
- The large pupils also cause their eyes to look much bigger than ours do. This can often scare people who don’t know that ducks can see so well at night.
- This is because our pupils are much smaller at night, allowing less light to enter them. Our pupils are open and close to regulate the amount of light that enters our eyes.
- The pupils of a duck’s eyes are always open, making them even better than our own eyes at night.
Ducks have very good eyesight, but that doesn’t mean that they are able to see in color. Their vision is black and white, and although they can see much better than humans in low light, they cannot read as well as we can. If you want to approach ducks without scaring them, do it when they are grazing or swimming. When they are walking, they will be scanning the ground for food, so they will not be able to see you coming.