How Long Can Ducks Hold Their Breath?

Ducks can hold their breath for anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds, and in some cases, even up to a minute or more. Ducks are air-breathing waterbirds that rely on food underwater. Some ducks dive a few meters underwater for food, while some ducks simply dip their heads underwater to retrieve food.

Depending on how they gather food, ducks are classified into two types: diving ducks and dabbling ducks. Divers dive underwater for food such as fish, mollusks, or aquatic plants. Meanwhile, dabbling ducks eat seeds, insects, and worms by diving only their heads under water.

These two ducks can hold their breath underwater for a few seconds. However, diving ducks can hold their breath even longer; some ducks can even last more than a few minutes just to catch their prey. Additionally, in an experiment where ducks were kept underwater, the ducks were able to hold their breath for 22 minutes.

How Do Ducks Dive?

Ducks prepare themselves by compressing their bodies and thrusting themselves downward toward the bottom of the water. They then use their wings and feet to propel themselves to their destination. When they dive, they also carry large amounts of air.

Depending on the species, ducks can dive to depths of between 10 and 65 feet. Some species are only able to stay submerged for a few feet, while long-tailed ducks have been known to go as deep as 200 feet!

Additionally, ducks, after a successful dive, rest on the surface of the water. They stop swimming and use the current to make them spring up like corks from under the ocean. While on the surface, they enjoy their catch and only go back to diving when they’re ready or needed.


Ducks are able to hold their breath for a few seconds up to minutes, depending on the type of duck and how they dive. They use their wings and feet to propel themselves downward, diving deep into the water to find food. Ducks are typically underwater for 10 to 30 seconds. After a successful dive, ducks rest on the surface of the water before swimming back down again.