General: The Mallard is widely found
in most North America and Eurasia. They inhabit all kinds of wetlands
large lakes to urban park ponds. Most of today's domestic ducks are
descendents of the Mallard. One problem throughout the world is that the
mallard has been introduced, sometimes to the detriment of native species -
and not just native ducks. So, there are places that the Mallard is
Mallards are know to crossbreed with multiple
other species such as pintails and black ducks.1
Mallard eggs are creamy to greenish. The chicks
hatch in about 23 - 30 days and fledge in 52 -70 days. The chicks are able
to leave the nest in 1 day from hatching. Only the female incubates the eggs
and takes care of the ducklings. Mallards frequently interbreed with their
closest relatives such as the American Black Duck.
The Mallard is one of
the most popular ducks for hunters. It has a lot to do with their large
population and wide distribution. A popular method is to hunt over decoys.
Mallard meat is mild and excellent to cook.
The drake mallard is 22" – 26" long, has a wingspan of 32" – 39"
and weighs 2 - 4lbs. Females are slightly smaller.
The most prominent identifying feature of the male mallard is its iridescent
green head with a white ring at the base of the neck. Its bill is yellow to
green. The breast and sides are silvery white. The back is gray.
Female & Juveniles: The female is mottled brown overall with a
lighter breast and darker back. Her bill is
orange with black blotches.
Both sexes have orange feet and legs. They have blue-violet speculums with
The biggest problem I have had is identifying female
Mallards from the American Black Duck. The American Black Duck is darker and
has no white borders to its purplish speculum and its tail is dark.
Habitat: Mallards can be found in all wet areas - from
marshes, lakes, agricultural lands to urban ponds
Mallards are the most widespread and abundant duck in North America. They
breed from Alaska most of Canada, the USA and into Mexico. They migrate
south to the Southern USA into Mexico. Many birds stay north and will
migrate only when forced by iced rivers and lack of food.
Diet: Mallards eat mostly plant matter and can be seen in and
around agricultural farms. They also eat insects and larvae and aquatic
invertebrates. Mallards are dabblers, feeding at the surface of water often
times tipping up in shallow water. They will also move to fields and feed on
corn, rye and other agricultural grains.
1. Field & Stream November
2011 pg 4: Fowl Fusion by: T. Edward Nickens