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, though it can also be found in the Earth Kingdom, Firelight Fountain in Ba Sing Se, and Avatar Korra Park in Republic City.
When Zuko was a child, he and his mother, Ursa, would sit together by the edge of a pond in the Fire Nation Royal Palace and feed the turtle ducks with bits of bread. When Zuko imitated how his sister, Azula, fed the turtle ducks by throwing a 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.
The turtle duck has the head, neck, and tail of a duck, 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 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.
- 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.