Mallard Duck

Male mallards (drakes) are known for their distinctive glossy green heads, white neck rings, chestnut-brown chests, and gray bodies, while females (hens) have mottled brown plumage, which provides excellent camouflage. Both sexes have a blue-purple wing patch (speculum) bordered by white, which is visible in flight or while resting.



Native to most temperate and subtropical regions of North America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, mallards have also been introduced to other areas, including New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. These adaptable ducks have become a common sight in urban and wild environments alike, thriving in a variety of freshwater habitats from small ponds and rivers to large lakes and estuaries.


Mallards are medium-sized ducks with a body length ranging from 50 to 65 cm (20 to 26 inches) and a wingspan of about 81 to 98 cm (32 to 39 inches).


The breeding season starts in the spring. Mallards are monogamous for the breeding season, though drakes may mate with other females opportunistically. The female builds a nest on the ground in dense vegetation near water and lays an average of 8 to 13 eggs. She incubates the eggs alone for about 27 to 28 days. Once hatched, the ducklings are led to water by their mother within a day of hatching and are capable of feeding themselves, although the mother provides protection. Ducklings fledge 50 to 60 days after hatching but may remain with their mother for a little longer.


Mallards are social birds outside of the breeding season, often forming large flocks on water bodies. They can mix with other species of ducks in these flocks.


Mallards are omnivorous, feeding on a wide range of food including aquatic plants, seeds, small fish, and invertebrates. They feed by dabbling (upending in shallow water) rather than diving.


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