Messer Pond Fish &Wildlife
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)...
Male (left) and Female (right)
Gordon Bingham, 5-2-07
Bruce Stetson, 5-17-07
The following are excerpts from Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds":
Large dabbling duck.
Male with iridescent green head, rusty chest, and gray body.
Female mottled brown.
Back of wing (speculum) shiny blue, with white line in front and behind.
Wing linings white.
Legs bright orange.
Size: 50-65 cm (20-26 in)
Wingspan: 82-95 cm (32-37 in)
Weight: 1000-1300 g (35.3-45.89 ounces)
Male with bright green head and pale body, female dull brown all over.
The Mallard is the ancestor of nearly all domestic duck breeds (everything except the Muscovy Duck). Many of the domestic breeds look like the wild birds, but usually are larger. They are variable in plumage, often lacking the white neck ring or having white on the chest. Feral domestic ducks breed with wild Mallards and produce a variety of forms that often show up with wild ducks, especially in city parks.
The widespread Mallard has given rise to a number of populations around the world that have changed enough that they could be considered separate species. The "Mexican Duck" of central Mexico and the extreme southwestern United States and the Hawaiian Duck both are closely related to the Mallard, and in both forms the male is dull like the female. The Mexican Duck currently is considered a subspecies of the Mallard, while the Hawaiian Duck is still given full species status.
Mallard pairs are generally monogamous, but paired males actively pursue forced extra-pair copulations. Copulation between members of a pair usually takes place in the water after a long bout of elaborate displays. Forced copulations are not preceded by displays, and several males may chase a single female and mate with her.
Mallard pairs form long before the spring breeding season. Pairing takes place in the fall, but courtship can be seen all winter. Only the female incubates the eggs and takes care of the ducklings.
Found in all wetland habitats.
Insects and larvae, aquatic invertebrates, seeds, acorns, aquatic vegetation, grain.
Foraging - Dabbles, filter-feeds at surface of water, tips-up in shallow water, and makes occasional dives in deeper water.
Please contact Water Safety & Fish/Wildlife Director, Jackie Parcells, with any questions or concerns
Messer Pond Protective Association
P.O. Box 103
New London, NH 03257
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