What do you know? Mallard Ducks

01-14-15_b_mallard_pair1

Mallards are widespread around the world, and our wetland area is no exception. This species of dabbling duck is at home here nearly year-round. There are a few weeks in the early fall when it appears that Mallards are nowhere to be found. However, I think they remain… but are being secretive.

Why the need for secretive behavior?

According to All About Birds.com:

“Mallards, like other ducks, shed all their flight feathers at the end of the breeding season and are flightless for 3–4 weeks. They are secretive during this vulnerable time, and their body feathers molt into a concealing “eclipse” plumage that can make them hard to identify.”

Secretive behavior is not the case right now… winter is a time many species hunker down, but not Mallards. These two sets of Mallard couples paired up in the fall (could that be what they were up to when flight was not an option?); winter, to them, is for courtship!

Ever wonder what duck couples are doing on evening low flights, when they circle over the wetland habitat? They most likely are looking at real estate. Before spring breeding season, the two will search for a nest site. Mallards prefer a place near the water on the dry ground where the female can make a shallow bowl-shaped depression in the earth. When finished, her nest is concealed by over-hanging grass or vegetation. It is about 12 inches in diameter, with a bowl for the eggs that is 1-6 inches deep and 6-9 inches across. During breeding season, Mallards generally produce 2 broods of 1-13 eggs.

01-14-15-b_mallard_pair2

You will know who is vocalizing out on the pond, or in the wetland by the sound of the calls…

“Quack!!! Quack, quack, quack!” That’s the female.

Rasping- without any quacking… That’s the male. Sorry, Donald, male ducks don’t quack!

Want to know more about Mallard Ducks?  Visit Science Behind this post:

All About Birds: Mallards

Would you enjoy viewing more Mallard photographs? Click on the link below:

Mallard Duck Gallery 

12 comments

  1. Thanks for the information, the mallards were among my first “wildlife photos” that I liked and posted. It was funny to see them come out of the pond and discover that their feet are orange, Jane.

    Like

  2. I have seen mallards on other blogs and so I was starting to think they might be just almost every place in the world. I love your close-up photos 🙂

    Like

    1. Yes, Judy, they are.
      Because they interbreed so dramatically… Mallards are considered invasive in some areas where native duck populations are threatened.
      On a related idea- I read that all domestic ducks have some Mallard genes!
      That’s a lot to quack about-

      Jane

      Like

  3. Mallards are not indigenous to South Africa, but we have several feral populations, escapees from parks, gardens and farms, causing us serious headaches, because they compete with our local waterfowl and interbreed with our yellow-billed ducks. They’re beautiful birds though.

    Like

    1. This is what I like so much about blogging… the ability to learn from others first hand. Judy,( Crooked Trackshttp://crookedtracks.com/2015/01/19/lots-of-ducks/ ) also posted about Mallards.

      Your comment is an example of a Mallard “negative.”
      Thanks for sharing an example of what the guidebooks talk about 🙂

      Janr

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s