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  Mallard- Greanheads

Mallard Information

The Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos[1]), probably the best-known and most recognizable of all ducks, is a dabling duck which breeds throughout the temperate and sub-tropical areas of North-America.

The Mallard is 56–65 cm long, has a wingspan of 81–98 cm, and weighs 0.9–1.2kg. The breeding male is unmistakable, with a green head, black rear end and a yellowish orange(can also contain some red) bill tipped with black (as opposed to the dark brown bill in females). The female Mallard is light brown, like most female dabbling ducks. However, both the female and male Mallards have distinct purple speculum edged with white, prominent in flight or at rest (though temporarily shedded during the annual summer molt). In non-breeding eclipse plumage the drake becomes drab, looking more like the female, but still distinguishable by its yellow bill and reddish breast. *

"Mallards feed by "dabbling" and upending, meaning that they tip their bodies into water, bill first, tail
in the air, to forage for food. Their diet is 90% vegetarian, consisting mainly of seeds of grasses,
sedges, pondweeds and other aquatic vegetation. Snails, insects and small fish sometimes are taken.

"Mallards can accomplish some interesting feats. They swim with their tail held above the water and, when they are alarmed, they spring directly out of the water and into the air. The sudden flight of Mallards can make quite a spectacular site.

"Once Mallards arrive on their nesting territory in the spring, the females build down-lined nests on
the ground near lakes and reservoirs. It is important that the nests be well-placed in dense vegetation
to avoid detection from predators.

"Although Mallards are seasonally monogamous, the male deserts the female after only the first week of incubation. The female incubates the five to 14 eggs by herself until they hatch some time between March and July, some 26 to 30 days later. The downy young leave the nest soon after hatching and can fly from 49 to 60 days later.

"Mallards are very common throughout North America. As migratory waterfowl, they winter south of Canada, throughout the United States south to Central America. Mallards arrive on nesting grounds in northern parts of the United States and in Canada between March and April.

"Mallards are also common throughout much of Europe, Asia and Africa. Wherever Mallards are located, they are most likely found on shallow bodies of fresh water, on lakes, marshes and even flooded fields."**

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mallard

**http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/nature/wild/birds/mallard.htm

   
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