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Mallard Duck mallard duck

Identification - Pictures and Video

(Anas platyrhynchos)Mallard Duck

Mallard Ducks are probably the best-known of all ducks.  In fact they are the ancestor of almost all of our domestic ducks.  They grow 18 to 27 inches in length.  They are identified by most people by the male or drake's iridescent green head and narrow white collar.  Their body is grayish with chestnut breast, and white tail feathers with black central tail feathers that curl up.  They have a yellow bill and orange feet and a purple speculum.  Unfortunately like most birds he will loose his bright colors after breeding season.  

Photos by Keith Lee.  The camera I use is the Canon EOS 40D.

     Mallard Ducks

The females are mottled brown with a white tail, and a mottled brown and orange bill.  Juveniles are similar to females.  Mallards are often seen in small flocks flying in a V formation.

ducklings

View video of mallard duckling in small stream.

 

For other bird videos please visit our Youtube channel and subscribe or like our videos.
Most videos on my site were taken with the Canon HG10 camcorder.

Duck sound

Ducks are noisy birds.   Males call is a low nasal quack.  During mating season they make sharp whistles.  Females voice is quack-quack-quack.  Sound

Preferred Habitat

Mallard is found throughout North America.  They prefer calm shallow water, but can be found in almost any body of water from marshes, ponds, rivers, lakes, and irrigated land.  They are often seen in city parks.

Breeding and Nesting

Mallard breeding season starts in the fall, and they will pair up by winter.  During courtship the male will whistle, and grunt, pump his head, and preen in front of the female.  Females will respond with loud calls, and posturing.  This normally takes place in the water.  They will also do chase flights.  Once paired if they migrate they will migrate to the females territory of origin.

Attended by the male the female will choose a nesting site.  They normally nest in the reeds.  The female builds a hollow nest with grass, leaves and feathers, lined with down.  Occasionally they may use the nest of other birds such as a crow or hawk.  Females lay and incubate 8 to 15 eggs for about a month.  Mallard eggs vary in color from creamy white, pale blue to blue-green and they have no markings.  While she is incubating the eggs the male may leave and join a flock of other males.  Ducklings are born precocial.  They can swim, and feed themselves shortly after hatching.  They will fledge in around 8 weeks, but until then they will follow the mother for protection.  While the female is raising the young birds the male will leave to molt.  This takes 2 to 3 weeks, and he will be temporarily flightless.  When they are done they will look much like the female.

Mallard Ducklings  

Food 

The mallards main diet is aquatic vegetation, fish, and invertebrates which they get by dabbling near the water surface.  Often they can be seen complete upended as they dip below the surface.  They also eats grains and plants on land.

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