Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

 

Male Mallard

The Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is a member of the Anseriformes order and the Swans, Geese and Duck family (Anatidae). It grows to 27 inches (68cm). The photograph above shows a male mallard on French Hill Pond in the spring of 2010. A mated pair is shown in the picture below.. The male mallard has a metallic green head parts of which may appear black under certain lighting conditions. The two photographs on this page illustrate how the color of the head changes as the duck moves. The male also has a distinctive white neck ring. His breast is chestnut and body is gray. The drake (male duck) has a yellow to orange bill. The speculum (feathers on the posterior or back of the wings) of both the male and female are purplish-blue bordered by black and white sripes. The female is mottled brown with a mottled orange and brown bill.

Mallard Pair

The two photographs below show a mallard male and female pair on land. Note the blue, speculum feathers of both birds, These feathers are not normally seen when mallards are in the water. Both birds were recently in the water. Water beads are visible on the male's body. Also note the bright, orange legs on both birds.

Male Mallard on Land

 

Female Mallard on Land

The female mallard makes a loud quack but the drake has a softer reedy sound.

The mallard nests in marsh grass or among brush on the shore. The nest is made of grass lined with down. The female will lay eight or more pale green eggs.

The domesticated white duck is a descendent of the mallard. Mallards will breed with domestic white ducks and even closely related wild species like the Black Duck. The resulting hybrid ducks have a wide variety of colors and patterns.

The photograph below shows ducks in Somesville during February 2011. There are both Mallards and Black Ducks in this photograph. The Black Ducks are in the rear of the photograph.

Ducks in Winter

Mallards in Winter

The photograph above is a section of the previous photograph showing mostly Mallards. The insert is a close-up of the duck identified by the arrow. This duck with unique plumage is probably a mallard/black duck hybrid. The duck just above this hybrid is a Black Duck.

 

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