Spotlight Breed Of The Week Mallard Ducks
Mallards are the most popular of all ducks and when most people envision a duck, they usually imagine the colorful mallard. They are beautiful and the ancestor of most other duck breeds. They are also the oldest and most common breed, the Mallard
has a long history of being domesticated, hunted and observed.
The Male Mallards are known as “drakes” and will sport a remarkable green iridescent plumage
on their heads with a white band around their necks. The female Mallards
are known as “hens” and have a mottled brown to tan plumage. Both male and female have a white and blue speculum
along the back edge of their wings. However, until males start to get their colorful feathers at 12 weeks of age, they are the same coloring as the females. By 16 weeks the males are fully feathered and retain these colors until the end of the breeding season when they molt into more drab, less brightly colored feathers. After 3-4 months, their beautiful feathers grow back and these are retained until their molt the next summer.
The vast majority of wild Mallards migrate
. In the summer they can be found in the northern parts of the US and all of Canada. When fall arrives and food becomes scarce, they fly south to more temperate climates such as the southern US and parts of Mexico. Come spring, they again return to their nesting grounds. However, If you release Mallards that have not been hatched and grown in the wild, it is highly unlikely they will migrate. Studies show they go no further than five miles from where they were released. Though your released birds may fly away, the Mallard’s ability to fly and escape predators makes them much more likely to survive than any domestic ducks released into ponds and streams. Also, the Mallards will forage in water by dabbling
, submerging their heads and necks, up-ending, rarely by diving and forages on land by grazing, plucking seeds and grubbing for roots.
Mallards are generally monogamous
and will usually form pairs in October and November and will stay in pairs until the end of the breeding season, which occurs in early March and extends into late May. Mallard eggs vary in color from creamy white, pale
blue to blue-green and they can lay between 60 to 120 eggs a year on a farm. In the wild they will lay 10-15 eggs in a nest. If their first brood is raised early or their nest is destroyed, they can lay a second set of eggs and are excellent mothers.
||creamy white, pale blue to blue-green
||2 - 2.5 lbs
||Very hardy in all climates
||Calm, Very Good Flyers