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Animal Symbolism, By Witchipedia

Duck: Folklore, Omens, Dreams and Symbolism

Updated on:


Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Ducks are friendly, curious creatures who enjoy living in family groups. In addition to wild ducks, there are several domesticated varieties who lack the ability to fly more than a few feet. All of these, with the exception of the Muscovy Duck are descended from the Mallard Duck.

Ducks are popular barnyard animals and backyard pets because certain breeds, notably the Campbell Khaki and the Indian Runner Ducks among others, can give an egg-laying chicken a run for her money.


The spiritual symbolism of a duck often revolves around themes of adaptability, emotional depth, and community.

Ducks are known for their ability to navigate both the water (emotions) and the land (physical world) with ease, symbolizing the importance of balance and adaptability in life. Additionally, their tendency to gather in flocks highlights the idea of community and cooperation.

In various cultures, ducks can also represent fertility and transformation, particularly due to their lifecycle stages of egg, duckling, and adult.

Some Ducky Folklore

Ducks are exceptionally curious creatures as illustrated by the Lakota tale Iktomi and the Ducks. The story also illustrates their reputation for being silly and sorely lacking in the intelligence department: exhibits A & B – Donald Duck and Daffy Duck.

Indeed, if you’ve ever observed a pair of ducks in springtime, the boys do seem somewhat oblivious as the ladies lead them around- right into traffic at times.

The Ojibwe story of Shingebiss tells of a little merganser duck’s fortitude: Not just his perseverance through hard times, his cheerful perseverance. And, just as important, his unwillingness to view someone set on doing him harm as an enemy. No, he just went about his business until the enemy gave up on being an enemy and went about his! It’s all about resilience.

Video about the symbolic meaning of ducks

Ducks as Omens

  • It is said that if a duck quacks more or louder than usual, then rain is coming
  • To hear the quack of a wild duck is an omen of coming prosperity.
  • If you see a duck flying, your troubles and sadness will soon be relieved.
  • If a duck lays unusually dark-colored eggs it means misfortune for the household. The duck should be destroyed or hung upside down to avoid this.
  • If a wild duck comes to visit you, you should take some time to connect with your family.

The Symbolism of Ducks

Ducks are most closely connected to the water element and an image of a duck or a duck feather can represent this for ritual purposes. They represent emotional connections to others, comforting and protecting others and being emotionally flexible.

Ducks are especially interesting in that they are creatures who are comfortable in all the material realms; Earth, Sky, and Sea. Ducks are thus a symbol of freedom, flexibility, and adaptability as well as the connections between heaven and Earth, spirit and material, the astral and the physical and travel and transition between these realms.

Ancient EgyptSymbol of fertility and motherhood, associated with the goddess Isis
ChineseRepresents fidelity, marital bliss, and a symbol of love
Native AmericanAssociated with water, emotions, adaptability, and protection
CelticSymbolizes intuition, grace, and the connection between worlds
ChristianRepresents grace, purity, and baptism
Table 1: Symbolism of Ducks in Different Cultures

In China, the Mandarin Duck symbolizes a happy marriage and fidelity and is used in wedding decor. The idea of a male and female duck playing in the water is an allegory of the ideal marriage. In Feng Shui, images of the Mandarin duck are used to enhance and heal marital relationships in the home (place in the Southwest portion of the home or bedroom).

Dreaming of Ducks

If you see a duck (or ducks) in your dream, it represents freedom from rigid rules, flexibility, adaptability. If the duck is flying, it is spiritual freedom, if the duck is swimming it is your emotions or unconscious needs or desires that are being addressed. If he is resting on the Earth about a more material aspect of your life, most likely domestic, especially if she is nesting.

If the ducks in your dream are particularly lovely and well-feathered, this is a positive sign. It may represent a wealthy and cheerful person in your life who will affect you in one way or another (what’s the duck doing, where is he?)

Dream ScenarioInterpretation
Seeing a duck in a dreamSymbolizes emotional connections and adaptability
Swimming ducks in a dreamReflects a harmonious and peaceful emotional state
Chasing or hunting ducksMay suggest a need to confront or resolve emotional issues
Ducks flying in a dreamRepresents freedom, adventure, or a desire for change
Feeding ducks in a dreamSymbolizes nurturing, care, and emotional support
Table 2: Duck Symbolism in Dreams

If the bird is molting and looking bedraggled, someone’s freedom or adaptability is being hampered by someone in a more prominent position of power or finances.

If the duck is killed, by someone other than yourself, someone is meddling in your affairs. If you kill it, your focus is misplaced.

If the duck is wounded, this symbolizes great sadness coming to you through your family.

If the duck speaks to you, your lack of clear perception about a situation (spiritual, emotional or domestic, depending on what the duck was doing before he started talking) is blocking your ability to deal with it appropriately.

If the duck is white, there is some deception going on.

If there are lots of ducks, it symbolizes abundance. Also, a duck coming toward you indicates abundance coming your way.

Being attacked by a duck indicates a minor setback.

Eating duck means indicates prosperity through the efforts of another.

If you hear the quacking of a duck in a specific place, but can’t find the duck, misfortune is coming to that place. (Note that this is a good omen when you are not dreaming.)

Duck Spirit

The spirit of Duck is adaptable and friendly. He likes to laugh out loud. He does not hold grudges. He does not take the time to sulk about his situation, he carries on. Duck knows that the seasons change and that, to survive, he must sometimes change with them. He does not resent this, but embraces it as a chance to learn and experience new things as duck is also curious.

Changes, roadblocks, even insults are all “water off a duck’s back”.

Duck knows that family and a healthy social life are important. She is especially devoted to her children and is an intuitive mother. She also knows that people change and that people do things for their own reasons and doesn’t take things personally. He feels his emotions deeply but he does not let them overwhelm him.

Like the water he swims through, he rides them, dives deep into them when appropriate and walks away when the current is too strong. Duck’s emotions and devotion is constant, but he doesn’t wallow in them, except for fun. Duck is, however, devastated by loss. His devotion is steady even when the object of his devotion has gone, which can destroy him if he isn’t careful.

Duck knows the value of the “happy place”. This place is full of people he loves and is comfortable and warm (home). Although he loves to travel, duck will always return home to recharge. He knows there is no shame in this.

Duck is an excellent spirit helper for journey as he moves freely between all realms.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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