It’s weird writing about ducks. But I don’t think we have mallards down here – I’ve never seen one before. We have white ducks and black ducks – but you can’t really tell since all you see is a beak, some feathers, and a whole lotta mud.
I guess this behavior in ducks fascinated the shit outta me because I didn’t realize they can be sooo hardcore.
See here, the Mallard duck, has quite an unusual way of expressing its amorous ways. Apart from mating with the usual female duck species, the male Mallard has the liking for boning other males. Well, not always those live ones – sometimes, DEAD ones.
Mallard ducks have been observed to have a necrophiliac sexual behavior. It was vividly documented by a Dutch researcher, Kees Moeliker in the summer of 1995.
Moeliker was in Rotterdam Natural Museum in Netherlands, sitting behind his desk in a glass building. Out of the blue, he heard a loud bang emanating from the window, and that’s when he saw a male Mallard, dead as a doornail – belly on the sand. Now another male duck was on the scene and started pecking at the dead Mallard’s head. The live duck then suddenly mounted the dead one and raped it. In such quite a force and stamina, the male mallard continued copulating for almost 75 minutes. According to Moeliker, the live Mallard even took two short breaks during the incident, before he decided to halt the “rape” and secured the unfortunate dead duck.
Moeliker’s odd documentation was somehow a revelation, especially since homosexual necrophilia in animals has never been described before. A fact though is, homosexuality in ducks is indeed present – the ratio being 1 out of 10 ducks being gay. Necrophilia in ducks was also documented in the past, but not between two males. What the Dutch researcher witnessed was an exceptional case, plus the fact that the copulation lasted for over an hour.
In Kees Moeliker’s explanation, he said that the incident was a case of a “rape-intent flight”, which is a common sexual behavior in Mallards. Male Mallards often target female ducks which are left out during mating season. The group will chase the female and peck at her, and when she starts to weaken, the male ducks will take turns in raping the female duck. What Moeliker witnessed however, was quite a rare case, since the “victimized” duck accidentally died after flying into a glass pane. Fueled by raging hormones, the dominant duck’s arousal was further intensified, seeing the dead Mallard failed to resist. What’s disturbing to me is the fact that the dominant duck got horny upon the sight of a dead duck. Nature is scary.
Because of this rare observation, Kees Moeliker was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize, an award which honors scientific discoveries that “first make people laugh, and then make them think,” for improbable research in 2003. Since the incident, a lot more cases of necrophilia and homosexuality among birds and other animals have been documented including several species of frogs and swans. However, the combination of two male Mallard ducks has never been seen again.