top of page

Peacoquetterie, Poppyduckers, and Other Types of Bird Slang

The image shows geese stealing a pearl necklace. It also defines "hustle-honk" as a team of geese who pocket your stuff, then slyly re-sell it on Amazon.

Ducks and Chucks,

Just the other day, yours truly was at the Pondweed Store searching for a giftable box of pondweed crackers, when I overheard a convo between a couple of mallards. One was saying to the other, "We can't have humans learning our language! Can you imagine? They'd be inviting us into the oven and cooking us for dinner!"

Now, I've met a few of the chucks [that's duck-language for "humans"] who read this blog and they're totally ducking awesome. So, as a bit of pro-human quacktivism, I invited three of my bird pals, including my best frenemy Sir Mallard Jones, onto the blog to share their favorite bird slang of choice.


Nominated by Duck's Partner Peacock Riley:

Peacock Riley is wearing a top hat with a rose in the band. They have long eye-feathers with flowers stuck into them for decoration.

Peacock Riley the Marvelous is my life partner and is also the star of the famed bird-opera La Peacoquetta. That last bit is important because Riley has nominated the word PEACOQUETTERIE for our discussion. Peacoquetterie, according to Riley, is "non-romantic flirting that occurs between peafowl in a deliberate way, at a specified place and time." It is also central to the plot of Riley's bird-opera. But we'll table that for another time.

When there's peacoquetterie afoot in our luxury apartment, this duck has a tendency to disappear. Why? Because the peacocks that Riley asks over for peacoquetterie sessions will literally strut wherever they please with their tail-feathers fanned, while squawking so loudly that this duck wishes he was bottoms-up in the Atlantic Ocean.

When I get home, there are invariably eye-feathers everywhere—including in my underwear drawer—not to mention claw marks on the walls, spilled pina colladas all over the bathroom floor, and sometimes silk knickers hanging over our bedroom chandelier. (The chandelier, as Riley always reminds me, is Riley's, even though the knickers rarely are.)

But nobody smooches anyone, because it's not that type of flirting.

So that's peacoquetterie, folks. It's noisy, it's non-romantic, it's deliberate, and it sometimes involves silk knickers.


Nominated by Duck's Frenemy Sir Mallard Jones

Sir Mallard Jones, a mallard, wears his signature monocle and top hat.

Sir Mallard Jones, my best frenemy, who lives in a ducking castle, told me over sushi last Saturday that "poppyduckers" is his favorite slang term. "What in the name of poppyduckers...?" he'll cry when he pulls a duck-feather out of his miso soup, because "poppyduckers" is a posh word that means ABSOLUTELY DUCKING NOTHING. [Breathe, Duck. Breathe—Star] It is often used in response to general quackduckery, as a gesture of TOTAL HOT AIR.

It's not even in the ductionary. And most duck-words are.


Nominated by Duck's boss Goose Luce

Goose Luce, Pond CEO, wears pearls around her throat and a pirate hat on her head.

Okay, so this is embarrassing. Goose Luce was super-excited when I said I wanted to publish a definition of her favorite piece of bird-slang. But what I failed to think through when I made the offer was that Goose Luce only ever says two words "Goose Luce." (You can read an interview with Goose Luce here, if you can actually bear it.)

Having a discussion with Goose Luce is a bit like staring at a Magic Eye painting. You just sort of relax your mind and get the general gist of what she's saying. But when it comes to specifics, that's a little more challenging. This is why, when Goose Luce wants some new paper clips, for instance, she has to draw a picture of a paper clip and wave it around. Unfortunately, her drawing skills aren't the clearest.

So Goose Luce nominated the bird-slang term "Goose Luce." And there we have it.


Nominated by Duck T.

Duck, a stuffy, lies on his back with his flippers in the air. The caption says, "These are my queer flippers." There are hearts and a rainbow as decoration.

When you give someone the flipper, ducks and chucks, it's a bit like flipping the bird, except that the very notion of "flipping the bird" is not very PC among waterfowl.

In order to give someone the flipper, you simply raise your flipper, showing the sloppy under-side, which is often covered in grit, pondweed, gravel, and insect bits. Giving someone the flipper is a bit of a rude thing to do, but you aren't likely to get sacked for doing it.

When, for example, Swan Juan flipper-tucked [which means "stole"] my ducking hat, which is NOT OKAY, I strutted straight into the break room where he was wearing said fedora, and raised my flipper at him. "This is what you get when you take my green fedora without asking!" I quacked.

At which point, Swan Juan rolled his eyes (because everyone agrees, I am a very intense duck) and handed me back my fedora. He did also express that he was sorry.

Being a fashion columnist, Juan later informed me that my green fedora, which I've had for years, has ACTUALLY COME BACK INTO FASHION.

That's two fashion cycles it's had now. I was pretty stoked about that.

Duck persuades you to sign up for his friend list and get his e-book ("The Ballad of Sir Mallard and the Salad") for free when you do so.

So there you have it, ducks and chucks. Now, if you enjoyed the above riduckulousness and would like to receive my monthly letter [which is literally an emailed letter from Duck, in which he shares news with you, his friends, about his month—Star], do sign up here for my d-mail list. You'll also get my free poetry collection, which, I will warn you, is partly about Mallard Jones and a terrible thing he did with a salad.

Loves ya,

Duck T.


bottom of page