Mammalian interferon-induced proteins with tetratricopeptide repeats (IFITs) play important roles in many cellular processes and host innate immune response to viruses. However, the functions of IFIT proteins in birds are largely unknown. Here, we first describe that the only one avian IFIT protein is orthologous to ancestor of mammalian IFITs. We find that the predicted structure of duck AvIFIT protein is similar to that of human IFIT5. We also find that duck AvIFIT protein shows antiviral activity to a broad range of specific RNA and DNA viruses like mammalian IFIT proteins. Further analysis indicates that overexpression of duck AvIFIT protein in DF1 cells leads to a remarkable accumulation of cells at G1/S transition associated with growth arrest and may promote apoptosis. Moreover, duck AvIFIT binds to nucleoprotein (NP) of H5N1 influenza virus and upregulates the expression of genes involving the IFN pathway in DF1 cells. In summary, our findings support that duck AvIFIT protein plays critical role in host immune response to viruses, at least H5N1 virus, through affecting function of viral NP protein, magnifying the IFN signaling and arresting cell growth.