Mallard

Anas platyrhynchos

We are all familiar with this common duck. Most of the photographs here have been taken along my local canal. The male (called a drake) has quite colourful markings with a bright yellow bill, green head and blueish speculum, but these colours vary depending on the time of year. The female also has the blue speculum, but the bill is brown, grey, or olive. They have streaked brown plumage. The sex of the Mallard cannot be determined until at least 3 -4 months afer hatching, as they look the same, with brownish plumage. Similar to Gadwell, Shoveler (Anas clypeata), and Pintail.

It feeds on small aquatic invertebrates, seeds, roots, and shoots. It builds a down-lined nest on the ground or raised sites. Lays 9-13 eggs in 1 brood, January to August. They can live for up to 15 years.

Seen all year round. It lives in all kinds of water habitats, including lakes and ponds. The non-breeding population has declined over the last 25 years, hence it has an RSPB Amber status, but it is still the commonest and most widespread duck in the British Isles.

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6 thoughts on “Mallard

  1. They’re so common around here, especially in the marinas. We once knew a mother who hatched and raised 17 babies to adulthood. Needless to say, they were spoiled, and were willing to sit in our laps.

    We trained them to a specific “cluck” for feeding, and for several years after that — maybe even seven or eight — when they would migrate back in the fall, we could call the trained ones out of the groups and say hello. I’ve not seen any of them for three or four years now, but it was a great experience, and your photos are lovely.

    By the way — some dear friends lived in Uttoxeter for years. Eventually, they moved to Tywyn, Wales, but it always was fun to hear them tell tales of Staffordshire when they visited.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Very interesting to know how you got so close and had such wonderful experiences with the young. Mallards. 🙂 We have quite a few on the local canal here, but they tend to be a bit wary of us humans. But they are always a delight to see.

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