Wild Duck

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

wild duck a category of birds which includes a large number of species which are edible, but only a few which are regarded as really good to eat and which are likely to be found in appropriate markets during their seasons.

The family Anatidae includes geese and swans as well as ducks. Among the ducks, it is usual to distinguish between surface-feeding ducks, which feed by upending rear ends and dabbling for food in the water with their bills, and diving ducks which dive right down into the water in search of food. The former prefer marshes and ponds as a habitat, while the latter are likely to be found in open waters or the sea. The term ‘duck’ is not a precise one, and some birds which are ducks have names which do not include the term.