Facts about mallard

We found 20 facts about mallard

Anas platyrhynchos

The common mallard is the most popular game bird in Central Europe, i.e. Poland. It is very numerous and easily inhabits various environments to which it adapts perfectly. Even though hunters eagerly and often hunt this species, it is not afraid of people and does not shy away from their company often coming up to insignificant distances (in the hope of feeding). Be sure not to feed these birds with bread, as such a diet can lead to a fatal condition in adult ducks - angel wing.

During the breeding season, it is found in various regions around the world.

They occur in northern regions of North America, Greenland, northern Europe, and central Asia as far north as Kamchatka. Year-round it is found in the US, western Europe, Turkey, Kazakhstan, China, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and northern Iran.

It winters in the southern US, in Mexico to Cuba, along the Nile River in Egypt and Sudan, in India and Pakistan and Japan.

It inhabits a wide variety of habitats.

They can be found in both the Tundra and subtropical areas, in both fresh and brackish waters. They prefer shallow waters, covered with aquatic vegetation, in which the bottom is less than one meter deep.

It is a highly adaptable species, capable of living even in urban areas.

In some regions of the world, it is considered an invasive species, capable of displacing more vulnerable species of waterfowl.

From the common mallard comes the domestic duck.

There are more than 300 breeds of these birds. They are bred for eggs, feathers, and meat but also as ornamental animals. The first documented cases of 4.000.000 years of domestication come from Southeast Asia. They were also bred in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, but were not domesticated there. To prevent them from escaping, they are trained to know how to return home or have their wings clipped.

Outside the breeding season, both sexes are similar.

The plumage color is creamy brown with a lighter throat. Through the eye is an orange-colored beak with black spots. The male has a yellow beak, rust-colored breast, and black supernumerary lids.

During the breeding season, the coloration of the male undergoes spectacular changes.

The head takes on an iridescent green color, which is separated from the rest of the brown-steel body by a narrow white band. The breast is brown and also iridescent. The helms are white-gray except for the two middle ones, which are black.

It has been introduced to Australia, New Zealand and South America.

It was also introduced to New Caledonia but the population there has died out. Due to its migratory nature, it can be found in the Caribbean.

It is a medium-sized water bird. Males are larger and heavier than females.

Body length ranges from 50 to 65 cm and wingspan is 81 to 98 cm. The weight of adults is between 0.7 and 1.6 kg.

They fly very well and can achieve a momentum of up to 90 km/h.
It is an omnivorous species, very flexible in terms of food choices.

The main part of the mallard's diet consists of snails, beetles, dragonflies and flies, earthworms, crustaceans, and aquatic vegetation. During the breeding, migratory, and winter seasons, almost ⅔ of their diet is plant food.

The breeding season lasts from April to July.

They usually form monogamous pairs but males can also interbreed with other females.

They make their nests on the ground or in trees, usually near the shore, although this is not the rule.

They build them mostly of grass and pad them with feathers.

They produce one brood a year, the female lays 8 to 13 eggs.

They are light cream and measure 58 x 32 mm. They are laid every other day and the female begins to brood them when almost all are laid. The young hatch after about 28 days and remain sub-adults for another 50 to 60.

The young are nesters capable of swimming immediately after hatching.

They remain close to their mother, however, and begin to be independent after about 2 months. They reach sexual maturity at 14 months of age.

The global population of the mallard duck is estimated at 19 million individuals.

There are between 900.000 and 1,2 million during the breeding season. The mallard is probably the most numerous duck species.

They easily interbreed with other duck species.

Such mallards often remain fertile.

The average lifespan of a mallard duck in the wild is 3 years. However, they can live much longer, even more than 20.

The oldest documented age of these birds is 29 years.

They most often fall prey to birds of prey, ravens, weasels, snakes, raccoons, foxes and large fish such as catfish and pike.

They are also subject to hunting; in Poland, the mallard hunting season runs from September 1 to December 31.

As early as the Neolithic period in Greece, people hunted these birds. They fell prey to hunters more often than other species due to their large numbers.

They are most often prepared by stewing or roasting, accompanied by sweet accompaniments such as apples, pears, or cranberries.

It is not an endangered species.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the common mallard as a species of least concern.

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