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MALLARD DUCK

Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos
Order
Anseriformes

Family
Anatidae

Habitat & Range
Mallard ducks are widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Their habitat ranges from arctic tundra to subtropical regions and they can be found in both fresh and salt water wetlands. They are attracted to bodies of water that are less than 3 feet deep with abundant aquatic vegetation.

Identification
Mallards are a medium sized duck species, measuring 20 to 26 inches long with a wingspan of 32 to 39 inches. Males are unmistakable, with their shiny, bright green heads and yellow beaks. Females are much more drab and usually mottled brown. Both sexes have purple-blue feathers edged with white on the inner sides of their wings.

Diet
Mallards are omnivorous and will feed on a variety of foods based on availability and breeding cycle stage. They will consume gastropods, invertebrates, crustaceans, worms and a variety of plant matter.

Reproduction & Lifespan
Males typically find a mate in October or November and remain with her only until she lays her eggs, which takes place in early spring. Once she finds a suitable nest, the female lays a clutch of 8 to 13 eggs, which take approximately 28 days to hatch. Ducklings are black on their back and head and yellow on their chest and face. As they near one month old, they become drab and their coloring closely resembles that of their mother.

The life expectancy of a mallard duck is estimated at 20 years.

 
 
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