The relative roles that movement and proximity networks play in the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses are often unknown during an epidemic, preventing effective control. We used network analysis to explore the devastating epidemic of HPAI A(H5N8) among poultry, in particular ducks, in France during 2016-2017 and to estimate the likely contribution of live-duck movements. Approximately 0.2% of live-duck movements could have been responsible for between-farm transmission events, mostly early during the epidemic. Results also suggest a transmission risk of 35.5% when an infected holding moves flocks to another holding within 14 days before detection. Finally, we found that densely connected groups of holdings with sparse connections between groups overlapped farmer organizations, which represents important knowledge for surveillance design. This study highlights the importance of movement bans in zones affected by HPAI and of understanding transmission routes to develop appropriate HPAI control strategies.