10 Birds That Like Water (You Should See Number 3)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Water is to fishes, as air is to birds. However, this isn’t the norm for all birds. Birds are indeed unique creatures.

They have multi-dimensional features. Most birds are ground lovers. This means that they prefer to walk.

But then we also have birds that have natural flying abilities. 

It will fascinate you to know that there are aquatic birds as well. Interestingly, most birds even combine these features.

That is most of them fly and walk. Some others however walk and swim. Most birds are known to swim, fly, and walk.

Amazing right? However, these combinations are dependent on their innate features.

This article reveals some birds that like water and some interesting facts about them. So, keep reading. 

1. Loons

Birds That Like Water

Loons are amazing aquatic birds. They are popularly known as divers because of their amazing diving skills.

As aquatic birds, loons have naturally adaptive features for water. Therefore, they do incredibly well in water.

These birds have webbed feet. This serves as a paddle power for them. And it makes swimming super easy for these birds. 

These birds also have streamlined bodies. This helps them have high resistance to friction in the water. It also makes them swim faster.

Another feature that makes them adaptive to water is their clustered feathers. These birds have feathers that are naturally clustered.

This helps them trap in the air. And in turn, it helps to aid floating on the water surface. 

Loons can stay underneath water for about five minutes. They use this amazing feature to hunt for fishes in the water.

They have red eyes that make them locate prey when submerged in water.

Unlike other birds that have hollow bones, loons have solid bones. Their solid bones enhance their diving ability.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on birds that kick

2. Flamingos

Flamingos are water birds with long legs. In other words, they are warding birds. They live along the edges of lakes, lagoons, and shallow waters.

They are good swimmers as well. But they spend more time warding than swimming. 

Flamingos are often seen standing and walking in water. Especially when the water is shallow, which is what they prefer. 

Flamingos love water. This is because they have natural build-ups that make them love water.

Want to know what these build-ups are? I bet you do.

To start, these birds have long legs. Their long legs permit them to ward in depths that other birds can’t reach.

They would usually swim however if the water becomes too much for them to handle, they’d walk.

Their webbed feet help them move around in muddy areas.

These birds also have the ability to hold their breath underwater. Awesome right? This feature helps them to feed underwater while holding their breath.

Flamingos also have natural preen gland oil. They use this gland oil to groom their feathers.

This natural oil secretion helps them repel water from their feathers. Thereby avoiding sinking and making floating a lot easier for them.

3. Ducks

These short-necked birds are fascinating creatures. Ducks are pretty birds mostly seen in the water.

Not only do they love to stay in the water, but they love to swim as well. 

Just like every other bird, ducks are quite unique. Ducks have webbed feet as well. These webbed feet act as paddles that aid them to swim.

These incredible feet make swimming easier and faster. Ducks do not have blood vessels in their feet.

Therefore, they have the ability to tolerate cold water

These birds also have unique waterproof feathers. Their waterproof feathers prevent their feathers from getting wet.

They have compact feathers that trap in the air thereby aiding floating. Ducks possess preen gland oil as well. 

Ducks also do incredibly well outside water. But it is most preferred that they kept in water.

4. Swans

Swans are large-bodied waterfowl that live in marshes, lakes, and other wetlands.

They eat water plants and their long flexible necks help them reach down to grab shoots when swimming in shallow water.

Their short legs make them more awkward on land, but they, however, graze on the land.  

Swans like every other waterbird have webbed feet. They are well adapted to the aquatic environment, having fully webbed feet for swimming.

However, these birds are not capable of submerging. Instead, they feed by tipping up and using their long neck to reach for the food of aquatic plants and occasional invertebrates.

Just like ducks these birds float. They trap in air in their feathers and this helps them to float. 

Also check out this article I wrote on birds that nests on cliffs

5. Storks

Storks are large birds with long necks and bills. They are wading birds which belong to the Ciconiidae family.

These birds live in the water. These birds however do not swim, except in shallow water. They are usually seen wading in water.

Most storks eat sea animals like fish and frogs.

These birds have flying abilities. However, they have amazing body parts that help them to do well in water.

They have skinny legs and this helps them wade deep in water. 

6. Geese

Geese have a lot of similarities with the duck and swans. They swim in the water. They are usually found in ponds and lakes. 

Just like ducks and swans, they float on water as well. They do this by trapping air in their feathers.

They have webbed feet as well. Their webbed feet help them to paddle, swim and dive effectively. 

7. Kingfishers

Kingfishers are not your typical water birds. They’re one-of-a-kind. They do not swim for long periods, nor do they wade. 

However, these birds do enjoy the water.

They feed primarily on aquatic prey. Interestingly, kingfishers have binocular vision with limited eye movement, allowing them to track fish underwater. 

Kingfishers can compensate for water reflection and refraction and judge water depth very accurately.

This bird flies over bodies of water in search of fish to eat. 

Furthermore, they have incredible diving abilities. Kingfishers have been observed diving into water between 2cm and 1 meter deep at speeds of up to 25 mph to catch prey.

That is, kingfishers will dive in extremely shallow water. 

Their toes also make them adapt very well to water. These birds have toes that are partially fused.

This allows them to grasp live prey underwater more easily.

When they spot a small fish or crayfish, they either dive into the water or hover above until they have properly targeted their prey. 

To protect their eyes, kingfishers have a third eyelid, and cone cells in the fovea of the retina produce an oily fluid that allows them to compensate for the refracted angle of light underwater. 

When they catch a fish, they bring it to their perch and beat it with a limb until it dies. Then, they swallow it headfirst.

Pellets of indigestible scales and bones are regurgitated

8. Penguins

Penguins are aquatic birds that cannot fly. They’re excellent swimmers. They are usually found in water because they get their food from it.

Unlike other birds, they swim deep into the water, up to 20 meters. Most penguins can stay in water for about 20 minutes.

When swimming, penguins inhale and exhale rapidly at the surface. Penguins inhale just before diving, and then they dive on a breath of air.

This ensures that they have enough oxygen while submerged. 

Penguin wings are paddle-like flippers used for swimming. This makes swimming much easier for them.

They can dive because their bones are strong and dense. 

A penguin hunches its head into its shoulders. This maintains its streamlined shape and reduces resistance or friction. 

9. Herons 

Herons are freshwater birds. The herons have long legs and necks. They are wading birds.

They hunt for their prey in the same way that kingfishers do, by sitting quietly and waiting for it to come within range. 

Herons are wading birds and do not have fully waterproof feathers like diving birds. This means that their feathers can get wet. 

10. Coots 

Coots are also known as marsh hens or mud hens. They are medium-sized aquatic birds. They walk and swim as well.

They have the amazing ability to run in water. They do this with the help of their lobed (not webbed) feet, and those feet make quite a splash. 

These lobe feet also help them swim. A typical dive lasts 10-30 seconds. But diving ducks can stay underwater for a minute or more.

Coots are exceptional divers. They can dive deeper than 7m and can stay underwater for up to 15 seconds.


Birds do not only fly or walk. These amazing creatures are known to fly as well. Most aquatic birds like ducks, loons, and swans are incredible swimming abilities.

However, some others like the kingfisher are drawn to the water by their prey. 

Coots have the unique ability to run in water. While other water birds make use of their webbed feet for swimming, coots run with their lobed feet.

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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