What is a drake feather?

The drake feather is a curled tail feather on a male duck. Sometimes when ducklings are still fuzzy you can tell a drake by the hoarseness of his little voice or the way he keeps watch while the others forage. Later still, a drake develops a curly tail feather. I have noticed that in multi-drake flocks where there is competition, some drakes may lose their tail feathers as a result of fighting. Perhaps the rival male says, "Aha! Attractive to the ladies you will not be!" and he pulls it out. Some of the more vivacious males within my flock who are burdened with a precarious amount of prowess have two or three curly drake feathers. The more perfect, the more dapper as Iliya demonstrates in this photo.
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