The Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is a medium-sized dabbling duck. It is a water bird, living in wetlands.
The male Mallard – the drake – has a glossy green head, white collar, grey on its wings, and grey on its belly. The female has mainly brown speckled feathers. The male and female have iridescent blue feathers with white edges on their wings. The male has a yellow-orange beak, tipped with black, and the female has a darker beak.
It measures 50-65 centimetres (20-26 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 81-98 centimetres (32-39 inches).
The Mallard is native to the Americas, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It prefers wetlands – freshwater or saltwater wetands, such as ponds, rivers, lakes, estuaries, sea inlets and coastlines.
The Mallard is omnivorous, eating snails, beetles, flies, butterflies, moths, dragonflies, small crabs, and aquatic plants.
It is a social bird, living in flocks or groups. It does not migrate; it is residential.
The female lays 8-13 creamy-white to greenish eggs, which take about 28 days to hatch. The chicks are precocial, which means that they are born with some feathers and can swim soon after hatching. They take 50-60 days to gain their full feathers.
[Location of photographs: London, England and Paris, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM