Are Ducks Nocturnal?

Blue Winged Teal

When exactly do ducks decide to move and migrate? 

It’s a complex question that seems to have as many answers as there are experts willing to share their insights.

But here’s what we do know for sure, especially regarding two particular Blue-winged Teal, Fat Daddy and MJ, both tagged in Toluca, Mexico, in April of 2023. Their movements, which we’ve been tracking and sharing with you from our historical waterfowl tracker , have offered some surprising revelations about the timing of their migration.

Fat Daddy embarked on a staggering northward migration of 1,502 miles. What’s fascinating is that out of these miles, a mere 59 were traversed during the day, from 6 AM to 6 PM, shedding light on a primarily nocturnal migration pattern. And Fat Daddy isn’t an outlier. When we turn our attention to MJ, we see a similar pattern, with 96% of their combined migration happening under the cover of night, between 6 PM and 6 AM.

This nocturnal behavior in migration opens up a whole new discussion on the strategies and adaptations ducks employ to navigate their long journeys. Stay tuned as we continue to uncover the mysteries of avian migration. For more insights and the latest updates on Fat Daddy, MJ, and many others, follow us and dive deeper at 50Ducks.


With over 50 tagged Blue winged Teal see for yourself the movement patterns of this fascinating duck breed.  


 Curious to delve deeper into the nocturnal adventures of  migrating ducks? Visit and use the code “FLY” to unlock a world of knowledge. As you explore the data and stories of Fat Daddy, MJ, and countless
others, you might just uncover something we’ve overlooked. Share your discoveries with us – your insights could shine a light on new aspects of avian migration we haven’t yet considered. Let’s learn and grow together in our
understanding of these fascinating journeys.

The migration of a Mexican blue winged teal
Flight path of a GPS banded Teal in Texas

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