The mallard – the “Northern Hemisphere’s many abundant and also cosmopolitan duck,”according come The Audubon culture Master overview to Birding – held claims,in the 19th century, to a selection extending from western to central North America.With help from the human species, the mallard has since expanded its range toinclude virtually all of the joined States and also parts of west Europe,northern Africa, the center East, the Caspian and also Black Sea region, India andChina. The mallard’s “success in the wild,” speak authorities Nancy Drilling, RogerTitman and also Frank McKinney, writing for Birds of north America, “reflectsits adaptability to varied habitats, its stiffness in cold climates, that is catholicfood tastes, and its tolerance to human being activities.” 

Mallard duck average approximately 20" to 26" in length and also can weigh 2 come 3 lbs. The masculine is well-known as a drake and also the female is referred to as a hen; the flocks are dubbed sords as soon as they are in flight. Lock are usual in phibìc American, Europe and also Asia. The common mallard is capable of cross-breeding with many other species. They are also the ancestor of most domestic ducks.

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Male Coloration:

The male has a shimmery environment-friendly head during mating season Iridescent blue/purple wing feathers clearly shows on sides Orange, webbed feet Male, reproduction plumage: Yellowish to greenish come grayish bill; distinctive emerald eco-friendly neck and also head; narrow white collar; wealthy brown breast; gray come brown back, wings and belly; iridescent blue speculum (inner trailing wing feathers); black rump; black and white tail feather

Female Coloration:

Female, year-round plumage: Orange come yellow, black-splotched bill; pale brown head with dark lines over the crown and through the eyes; mottled brown body through paler, much more buff belly; iridescent blue speculum; irradiate colored tail feather Iridescent blue/purple soup feathers visible on political parties Orange, webbed feet

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Habitat & Diet

During the non-breeding season, the mallard leader a casual lifestyle, spending most of that time feeding, sleeping, shower or preening. The may, however, guard a favored feeding and nesting site aggressively, chasing and pecking competitors. Always watchful, the duck opens its eyes frequently, also when sleeping, keeping watch because that predators. Alarmed, it can launch itself vertically right into the wait from the water’s surface. 

Reflecting that adaptability and also resilience, the mallard makes itself at residence in a diversity of habitats. Because that example, the female normally nests, not only in the organic cover close to streams, wetlands, ponds and also reservoirs, but also around farm yard homes, residential areas and even back yards.

The mallard belongs to the group of ducks referred to as “dabblers.” prefer its kin, it frequently feeds - or dabbles - top top aquatic and marine life in shallow waters simply a couple of inches in ~ the surface, dipping only its head, neck and also breast downward while tilting that is tail feathers upward. (By contrast, other ducks -- called “divers,” for example, the Canvasback and Ring-necked ducks -- feed on aquatic and also marine life well below the surface, frequently remaining submerged because that 20 to 30 seconds.)

An opportunistic omnivore, the mallard feeds, not just in shallow vegetated waters, but along shorelines, in serial fields, also in metropolitan settings. Its varied diet generally includes aquatic tree seeds, riverine and shore-side tree seeds, various fish species, aquatic and also terrestrial amphibians and also invertebrates, mature and larval insects, worms, and also cultivated grain crop seeds.


Vocals

The woman duck quacks and the male duck has a an ext nasal sounding call.

Behavior

The mallard ducks travel in huge flocks. They migrate in the winter month from their northern territories to the south where warmer temperatures prevail. If they live in a climate that is warm year-round, they nothing migrate, instead staying whereby food is plentiful. They invest a the majority of time top top the water or near the water.

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Breeding/Lifecycle

During courting – i beg your pardon takes location well before the breeding season starts – the male, completing with several various other males, tries to attract a woman by posturing and also shaking. The woman nods her head demurely as she swims, the center of masculine attention. The male may turn his head far from the female, sending, he hopes, an irresistible signal to the woman to follow him. The female may take wing because that a brief and erratic (and maybe alluring) flight, v the males following closely behind. Finally, follow to Drilling, Titman and also McKinney, she selects a mate, apparently based upon his enthusiasm, courtship an abilities and plumage. She conveys her commitment by complying with the male, bobbing her head and also pecking him. The male turns his head away from the female, currently confident that the gesture will certainly indeed attract her to monitor him. 

At the reproduction grounds, the masculine selects a nesting range, which he will defend against other pairs. The mrs picks out a particular nest site. Instigated v head bobbing by either the male or the female, the pair will mate, regularly several time a day, when swimming. Often, early in the spring in the Southwest, the female begins building her nest while the masculine waits nearby. Typically, she digs in moist floor to kind a shallow bowl-shaped nest, lining the with adjacent litter and camouflaging it with neighboring vegetation. After ~ she lays her eight to twelve egg (usually cream-colored come grayish come greenish there is no markings) and also begins incubating them, she plucks down from her chest to add to the nest lining. Meanwhile, the masculine abandons the family. Given the opportunity, the adulterous other may establish a brand-new relationship with one more female.

Within a job after her eggs hatch, about three to four weeks ~ she has actually laid them, the mrs herds her young charges to water, where she will certainly teach castle the service of gift a mallard duck. Within a pair of months, she will watch the ducklings take wing, headed because that independence. Normally, she will not raise more than one brood in a season.

Mallard ducks mate in pairs and the pair continues to be together till the female lays her eggs. Right now the male pipeline the female. The woman incubates the egg on she own. The clutch of eggs normally includes 8 come 13 eggs that take 27 come 38 days come incubate. The swarms are developed on the soil or in a protected cavity or area. The ducklings deserve to feed themselves and also swim as soon as castle hatch. Young ducklings stay with the mom for protection until they room old sufficient to it is in on their own, usually around two months prior to fledging (acquiring the feathers necessary for flight).

After mating, the male commonly abandons the hen during the tedious time of incubation, and he seeks a secluded, food-rich spot wherein he will certainly relax throughout his seasonal molt.

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Hybrid breeds space occurring much more frequently together the mallards breed v other types such as the American black color duck and the north pintail.

Interesting Facts

Mallard ducks are the ancestors of almost all various other varieties of domestic ducks. The masculine mallard duck is additionally called a drake. Around 19% of duck mating pairs room male/male couples. The male mallard duck"s plumage changes during reproduction season, the head becoming the beautiful iridescent green that the species is well-known for. The mallard can “…sleep with one eye open and control sleep and also wakefulness separately in 2 mind hemispheres…” supposedly watching because that predators.  The birds have the right to freeze “in death-feigning reaction when caught by fox, i m sorry sometimes permits escape as soon as fox loosens its grip…” The male’s “…courtship skills improve with age; male-dominance relationships among rivals reflect aggressiveness, persistence, and also fighting capability of individuals…” The females “…lay larger eggs when they copulate with desired males…which develop heavier ducklings that have a higher chance that survival…” 

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