Last updated on November 4th, 2022
Have you ever observed certain birds like ducks or penguins walking? Well, they do not walk but waddle.
Animals that waddle:
A friend of mine recently went on an adventure cruise near the Antarctic, and she had taken several videos of penguins waddling. This got me wondering about the peculiar manner in which the birds walk and why.
So I started talking about it to a wildlife enthusiast I have known for many years, and she told me not just birds but also certain animals walk with a waddle due to the shape of their bodies.
So I decided to compile a list of animals and birds that waddle.
List of animals that waddle:
The movement of ducks, especially ducklings, is often quite adorable by bird lovers. The primary reason for this is that ducks don’t walk; they waddle.
Ducks are waterfowls, and their webbed feet are designed for paddling in the water. They are excellent swimmers, and they use their feet for moving forward or directing themselves in the water.
But when they are on land, they often lose that capacity to direct themselves, making their movement seem uncoordinated.
Typically the bodies of waterfowls are designed to help them achieve high speeds in water to take-off from a water body.
But when they are on land, they are not in their natural habitat. Moreover, a duck’s webbed feet lack nerve endings, making their movement difficult, and thus, the walk looks like a waddle.
The walk of most species of penguins is quite awkward, and it is most pronounced in the case of emperor penguins.
You will find that penguins walk with a peculiar waddle and studies show that penguins’ feet are designed to make them excellent swimmers.
When on land, penguins walk mainly on the toes of their feet instead of their soles.
This uneven weight distribution gives the penguin the unique waddle that we are familiar with.
But there is also a reason why a penguin walks on its toes instead of its soles.
Research shows that penguins can accelerate faster and maximize their momentum by walking on their toes with minor energy usage.
This is necessary, especially in the cold Antarctic, where energy conservation is necessary for survival.
Here is a further explanation of why penguins waddle.
Dachshunds are excellent family dogs, and they make good pets. But their elongated body shape often gives us the notion that they will shuffle or not walk fast.
However, dachshunds can walk quite fast, and their distinct waddle is usually a part of their trait when they want something from you.
Being an intelligent dog, they know that to get something from their master, they need to keep their master happy hence your pet dachshund will waddle and act cute till you give in to its demands!
However, veterinarians often caution owners of dachshunds to be careful with their pets because continuous waddling can be signs of arthritis or vertebral issues.
Therefore, if you observe that your pet is walking peculiarly and waddling more often than usual, you should take your pet to the veterinarian at the earliest.
Geese, like ducks, waddle because of their webbed feet. Moreover, like ducks, geese also waddle because of their feet placement.
The geese have streamlined bodies with hollow bones and rigid skeletons like waterfowl.
This gives them the ability to swim fast in the water and fly when necessary. But when they are on land, they are out of their element.
As a result, you will find that the geese have a waddling manner of walking.
The toes of the geese are also webbed in such a manner that it makes it easier for the bird to push the water back and propel them forward.
Cormorants are aquatic birds, and one of the unique features of these birds is that they are cliff-dwellers.
You will find the nests of pelagic cormorants mostly on rocky sea-shores and mountainous islands’ high rock faces.
Native to the northern Pacific region, the cormorants are excellent divers, but they have a peculiar manner of walking when they are on land.
Although the bird builds its nest on rock faces, you will find that it avoids walking on land. Its feet are more adapted to swimming and helping the bird take off from the sea.
The waddling gait of cormorants is often high-stepped, giving the bird even less locomotion on land.
Cormorants tend to avoid movement on land and will do it only when necessary.
Like several other birds, Pigeons bob their heads up and down, giving them the effect of waddling while walking.
Birds naturally are more suited to flying than walking unless they are flightless birds like the ostrich or the emu.
But when you observe how a pigeon walks, you will find that the bird cannot fixate its eyes on an object for a prolonged period.
Pigeons can only fix their eyesight on a particular object for a short period, and by bobbing their head up and down, they keep their eyesight steady.
This gives the effect of waddling and the bobbing of the head.
Furthermore, you will find that pigeons usually do not walk like humans because they have binocular vision. Therefore their walk has a waddling effect.
Swans are one of the most graceful waterfowls. Few sights are more beautiful than watching swans swimming gracefully in a lake.
But the same swans, when they are on land, can only waddle and walk clumsily. The waddle of swans is considered to be worse than ducks and geese.
The primary reason for this is swans spend most of their life in water, and they feed on snails, insects, and small fishes that are readily available in the water.
They rarely come on land in search of food or water. Hence, they are even less acquainted with walking on land.
Moreover, the webbed feet of swans are not adjusted to walking on land. Therefore, swans can only waddle on land.