Anas platyrhynchos




Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Green or gray buff.

Number of Eggs:

5 - 14

Incubation Days:

26 - 30

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Shallow nest of plant material gathered at the site.





Mallard: Medium-sized dabbling duck with gray body and chestnut-brown breast. Head is green and neck ring is white. Bill is yellow-green. Wing speculum is white-bordered metallic purple-blue. Tail is dark with distinct white edges and two curled black feathers. Legs and feet are orange. Female is mottled brown with mostly white tail; has a brown-saddled orange bill and no curled tail feathers. Juvenile resembles female but has duller bill. Eclipse male is similar to female but is grayer overall and has olive-green bill.

Range and Habitat

Mallard: Breeds from Alaska and Labrador south to southern California, northern Mexico, Arkansas, and along the East Coast to northern Florida. Spends winters throughout the U.S. and south to Central America and the West Indies. Preferred habitats include ponds, lakes, marshes, small river bends, bays, ditches, and city ponds.

Breeding and Nesting

Mallard: Mallard pairs are generally monogamous, but paired males pursue females other than their mates. Five to fourteen green or gray buff eggs are laid in a down-lined nest, usually built by the female on the ground, sometimes far from water. Incubation ranges from 26 to 30 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Mallard: These ducks are omnivorous and opportunistic. Their diet includes insects such as midge larvae, dragonflies and caddisfly larvae, aquatic invertebrates such as snails and freshwater shrimp, terrestrial earthworms, seeds from moist-soil plants, acorns, aquatic vegetation, and corn, rice and barley. They dabble in shallow water, and often forage for food in fields and woodlots.

Readily Eats

Cracked Corn


Mallard: Sounds a double note and makes a low, reedy "kwek, kwek, kwek."

Similar Species

Mallard: Northern Shoveler has a long, wide, dark bill, white breast, and chestnut-brown brown sides. Common and Red-breasted mergansers have narrow red bills and head crests. Mottled Duck and American Black Duck resembles female.

The upper front part of a bird.
The brightly colored area on the wing (secondaries of the wing) on several duck species.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X