The mallard is a very popular form of duck! Not everyone may realize it but for the majority of people if they picture a duck in their head they are actually picturing a Mallard Duck! Mallards, or “Wild Ducks” as they are also known are dabbling ducks (meaning they feed off the surface of the water rather than diving) and they are native to temperate and subtropical areas of North Africa, Europe, Asia, the Americas and also they have been introduced to Australia and New Zealand. These wonderful, social ducks live in wetlands and feed on water plants. The Males are distinguishable by their bright green or blue heads whilst the females are slightly less conspicuous with brown heads.
Identification of a Mallard
Mallards are very common ducks, whilst you may not realize it yet you have probably already seen several of them at your Local Park or river if you have ever had a pick-nick involving bread! The Male Mallard will clearly show his colors and can be recognized by his Blue or Green head and curly black upper tail feathers. The female Mallard is less bright and is usually a brown colour with dark brown flecks. As the Mallard has also been domesticated there can be different colour combinations as well such as pure white and dark brown!
Habitat of a Mallard
Like most ducks, Mallards will breed on fresh water bodies with preference to patches of reeds and other nice wetland areas. Mallards are also know to breed on saltwater bodies.
Mallards have quite an amusing form of display, they will perform a rhythmic bobbing of their heads and groups of competing males will gather around a female and swim circles around her in an attempt to get her attention and win her as a mate.
The males are the first to head to their molting grounds and they can leave as early as May or June. The females and younger mallards will leave later in July or August. The Mallards that migrate from the north will often not reach their winter get-aways until October up to December.
It’s also believed that the mallard duck was featured in the classic Nintendo game “Duck Hunt”. In this game the player has to shoot at flying ducks as they move across the screen. If indeed these ducks are mallard’s this would make them one of the most famous ducks in the world! I’m not sure about promoting duck hunting but the game itself was pretty darn fun!