Scientific Name: Anas Platyrhynchos
Diet: Mallards are omnivores. They eat a variety of vegetation, including grass and sedge seeds, roots, stems, and grains, but they also eat aquatic invertebrates, mollusks, insects, worms, and larvae.
Habitat: These ducks prefer freshwater marshes, but they can sometimes be found in saltwater as well. Mallards live in practically any wetland habitat, but are most often found in marshes, drainage ponds, parks, and lakes.
Range: Mallards live in most of the U.S. all year, but in the south they can only be found in winter. In Canada, they are only present during the breeding season.
Sound: Female Mallards make a deep, gruff quack! repeated several times, but the courtship calls of the male are higher pitched and shorter than the female’s regular quack.
Nesting: Mallards usually place their nests near water, but occasionally nests are found fairly far from any water. The nest is put on the ground, hidden by shrubs, but is sometimes placed in a tree. Mallard nests are shallow cups made of vegetation and lined with down feathers. Mallards lay 7-10 eggs, and they incubate them for 26-30 days.
Behavior: Mallards are dabblers. As they forage in shallow water, these ducks up-end often, looking for food near the bottom of the water.
Description/Field Marks: Mallards are medium sized ducks, with a wingspan of about 32-37 inches and a length of about 20-26 inches. Male Mallards have bright yellow bills and orange feet. Their heads are a dark, shiny green, and a dark brown breast contrasts with a white neck ring. Males have a mixture of grays, silvers, whites, and browns on their backs and wings, and their tails are black. Female Mallards are much more drab, with a duller yellow for the bills, and mottled dark and light brown on their backs, wings, tails, and necks. Females have a dark brown eye line and crown, and their faces are light brown. Both male and female Mallards have dark blue speculums.