Feeding Time

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Photograph taken August 2016, Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) adults and signets, on the River Severn, Low Town, Bridgnorth, Shropshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Not Such An Ugly Duckling

This little duckling and its mom was quite a sight to see as they came bobbing down the canal waters.

They had been ducking and diving (please excuse the pun) below the water looking for aquatic vegetation to feed on. It is called a Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos).

Visit Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) to learn more about this wonderful  waterfowl.

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.