- This article is about the Mallard duck. For other uses of the term, see Mallard (disambiguation).
The Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is a common and widespread dabbling duck which breeds throughout the temperate and sub-tropical areas of North America, Europe and Asia. It also frequents Central America and the Caribbean. It is probably the best-known of all ducks.
This 56-65 cm length dabbling duck is strongly migratory in the northern parts of its breeding range, and winters farther south. It is highly gregarious outside of the breeding season and will form large flocks.
The breeding male is unmistakable, with a green head, black rear end and a blue speculum edged with white, obvious in flight or at rest.
The females are light brown, with plumage much like most female dabbling ducks. They can be distinguished from other ducks, by the distinctive speculum.
In non-breeding (eclipse) plumage, the drake looks more like the female.
It is a bird of most wetlands, including parks, small ponds and rivers, and usually feeds by dabbling for plant food or grazing. It nests usually on a river bank, but not always particularly near water.
This is a noisy species. The male has a nasal call, whereas the female has the very familiar "quack" always associated with ducks.
Mallards frequently interbreed with the American Black Duck, Northern Pintail and domesticated species, leading to various hybrids.
A hen mallard with ducklings
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