The turtle duck is a creature that lives in ponds throughout the world. It has an inclination for the warm weather of the Fire Nation, but can also be found in the Earth Kingdom, as well as Avatar Korra Park in Republic City.
In ancient times, the large turtle duck pond added to the Fire Nation Royal Palace became one of the structure's most widely known features. By the time of Avatar Kyoshi, many Earth Kingdom nobles had constructed their own mansions in likeness of the Fire Nation Royal Palace, including a turtle duck pond.
When Zuko was a child, he and his mother, Ursa, would sit together by the edge of the Fire Nation Royal Palace's pond and feed the turtle ducks with bits of bread. When Zuko imitated how his sister, Azula, fed the turtle ducks by throwing a whole loaf of bread at one of the ducklings, the mother duck bit his leg in retaliation. Ursa gently pulled the duck from Zuko's leg and placed it back in the water. The mother and her turtle ducklings subsequently swam away.
Several years later, after he had returned to the Fire Nation, Zuko revisited the same pond to feed the small creatures like before. However, when Azula arrived to speak with him, the turtle ducks swam away hastily, disturbed by her presence.
Following the rescue of Hakoda from Gilak's clutches, Team Avatar prepared a celebratory meal featuring dishes from all four nations; Toph prepared braised turtle duck, representing the Earth Kingdom.
After the invasion of the United Republic of Nations, two young turtle ducks that had been separated from their owners during the evacuation of Republic City were taken under the wing of Jobal. After Meelo found and convinced him to come to the evacuee camp, the turtle ducks were returned to their owners.
The turtle duck has a duck's head, neck, and tail, but the body, shell, and legs of a turtle. Its neck, tail, and most of its head are light brown or beige in color. A dark brown stripe runs from its bill back over its head. Its legs and unfeathered body are of the same shade of brown. Its shell is dark green and its scaly underside is light green or off white.
The turtle duck tends to be calm and gentle, however, if one is provoked, or a mother's baby is endangered, it will attack the offender by pecking them with its sharp beak. The turtle ducks also flee from anything perceived as a threat.
As the name implies, this animal is a cross between a duck and a turtle. Duck is an umbrella term for the common water fowl, which includes geese and swans. Turtles are ancient reptiles that have been around since the Triassic period, and there are two to three hundred species of turtles in existence today. The combination of two aquatic animals makes it a great swimmer.
- Eska used "turtle duck" as a pet name for Bolin during their relationship.
- To be a "sitting turtle duck" is the Avatar equivalent of the phrase being a "sitting duck". Bolin used this term to refer to Korra's flat-footed stance while teaching her the pro-bending style of earthbending.
- Turtle ducks also inhabit man-made bodies of water, such as Firelight Fountain in Ba Sing Se.
- Bryan Konietzko drew turtle duck boats for an Avatar tribute exhibition based on swan boats from Ueno Park, envisioning them as an available form of recreation in Republic City.
- Earth Queen Hou-Ting complained about one of the topiaries in her garden looking more like a turtle duck than the preferred eel swan.