Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

Malard

Malards are one of the most common species of duck found in the United Kingdom and found in a large variety of freshwater habitats.

Identification

The Mallard measures 50- 65cm in length and is the United Kindoms most familiar duck. The Mallard is large and heavy looking with a long body, with a long body and with a long and broard bill. The speculum is a iridecent purple or blue edged with white. Thew male has a dark green head, with a yellow beak, a white ring neck, a purplish brown breast, and a mainly a grey body and black curly upper tail feathers. The female is brown with a darker brown mottling, a dark crown and eye stripe, a pale breast, an orange bill and orange legs. the juvenilles resemble the female but have finely streaked flanks. The mallard hasbeen domesticated for centuries and various plumages have evolved from black to almost pure white and also tufts on the heads. Mallards moult after the breeding season and are flightless for 4-5 weeks. Males resemble the females during the moult, but have a blacker crwon and yellowish bill.

Habits

mallardmating

Mallards are usually found in small flocks. They can rise straight out of the water if disturbed. Mallards are often very tame where the live close to humans, but very timid in remote areas. Pairs stay together for winter and spring. Some males have two mates and promiscuty and rape are not uncommon especially in groups of batcular group mals not paired yet. Ducklings will dive to avoid danger and the adults also dive occationally.

Voice

Calls from females include the familiar 'quack' that is often repeated many times in quick succession. The males has a quiter, low rasping 'crrrib'.

Habitat

The Mallard inhabit large and small lakes and slow moving rivers that ae fairly sheltered and with shallow margins for feeding, including park lakes, reservoirs small pools and coastal marshes. in winter flocks visit large bodies of water and may alsoi be seen on the sea. The Mallard breeds on a variety of wetland habitats

Food

The mallard are omnivoroius in which they feed on small invertebrates, small fish and plant leaves, seeds and shoots.

Breeding

mallardducklings

For Mallard nest building starts in February if the weather is mild. the nest is a shallow depression ringed with grasses or small twigs and it is lined with down. the nests are situated normally among vegatation such nettles, reeds, or sometimes in woodlands, in the crown of a treeor in a hedge bottom. The female incubates btween 11-15 eggs. During incubation the male generally deserts the female andplays no part in tending the young. The eggs hatch in 27 days. The young are able to swim, dive and feed them selves soon after hatching, The young r dependent on there mothers for 50 days. The female may produce one clutch a year but will replace if clutch gets destryed.