are probably the most familiar duck to most, and
well-adapted to living around human activity. Many semi-domesticated
Mallards have learned to live on handouts around city parks and ponds. The
Mallard is the ancestor of many domestic ducks. A male is shown in the
photo to the right. Additional photos (including females) can be found at
the bottom of the page.
Habitat: Marshes, woody swamps,
lakes, ponds, rivers, city parks. Occurs on nearly any kind of freshwater
Diet: Primarily plant material, such as grasses,
pond weeds, grasses, sedges, seeds, grain, and roots. Also will eat
insects, small fish, earthworms, frogs, tadpoles, and snails.
Behavior: Primarily forages by dabbling on the
water's surface...upending and submerging its head and neck. They will
rarely dive for food. They also will forage by walking on land.
Nesting: Mid-April through August. The bowl-shaped
nest of a Mallard is constructed of vegetative material, lined with the bird's
own down. The female usually lays between 6 and 10 eggs, and she does the
incubation. When the eggs hatch, the young leave the nest within a day and
feed themselves, but the female protects them. The young first take flight
after about 8 weeks.
Song: Surprisingly, a duck-like quack-quack-quack
Migration: Spring migration in March,
will remain in the fall and winter as long as open
water and food are available.
Bird Feeders: Will feed on corn or grain
scattered on the ground.
Similar Species: American
Black Duck, Mottled
Duck. Females are very similar
to many female ducks.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Mallard"
Photo Information: April 4th, 2004 - Arrowhead Park
near Sioux Falls, South Dakota - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Mallard photos.