- If a non-human animal is in the road you continue on until you have ascertained that it is safe to take avoiding action
Yes, as well as considering an emergency stop. Otherwise, it may be (depending on the particular circumstances) considered to be dangerous or careless driving.
Also, for the cited example, section (1)(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 seems the most relevant, assuming the intent to kill the ducklings is proven:
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person intentionally—
(a) kills, injures or takes any wild bird;
shall be guilty of an offence.
- What is the law concerning running over wild animals?
Whether the driver is legally required to report hitting an animal depends if the animal falls within the scope of section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988:
(1) This section applies in a case where, owing to the presence of a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place, an accident occurs by which—
(b) damage is caused—
- (ii) to an animal other than an animal in or on that mechanically propelled vehicle or a trailer drawn by that mechanically propelled vehicle [...]
(2) The driver of the mechanically propelled vehicle must stop and, if required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring, give his name and address and also the name and address of the owner and the identification marks of the vehicle.
(3) If for any reason the driver of the mechanically propelled vehicle does not give his name and address under subsection (2) above, he must report the accident.
(4) A person who fails to comply with subsection (2) or (3) above is guilty of an offence.
(6) To comply with a duty under this section to report an accident [...] the driver—
(a) must do so at a police station or to a constable, and
(b) must do so as soon as is reasonably practicable and, in any case, within twenty-four hours of the occurrence of the accident.
(8) In this section “animal” means horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog.
[non-relevant details omitted]
Note that most (if not all) of these are probably not wild animals, but are domesticated / owned by someone. There is no legal requirement report any other animals, but related government guidenance says:
You can report any dead animals you find on the road to the local council.
This includes wild animals like badgers and foxes, as well as domestic pets such as cats and dogs.