Mallard duck is the most common and most widely known species of ducks. You can meet her in almost all water bodies anywhere in the world. Mallard is also a favorite prey of hunters, and it is also the ancestor of domestic ducks. Want to know more about her? Then the appearance, a description of the breed, as well as its inherent features, read further in the article.
Description and appearance
Mallard has a rather large body, large head and short tail. The length of the body is about 600 mm. Wingspan can reach up to 1 meter. The weight of these ducks varies from 750 g to 1500 g. They have well-developed sexual dimorphism in the plumage coloration, which is especially noticeable in winter and spring.
The head of the male has a dark green color. On the neck is a small white collar. The back is brownish-gray with small dark stripes. Nadhvostiya in black drake, and chest - chocolate brown. His belly is gray with an implicitly expressed transverse pattern. More detail to consider the male can be in the photo.
The top of the wings is painted in brownish-gray tones. Also on the wings there is a blue-violet mirror. The bottom of the wing is covered with white feathers. Almost all tail feathers are straight and have a light gray tint. But there are a few tail feathers that are twisted to the top. They are painted in dark colors.
Male legs are orange with a red tint and darker membranes. During the molting period, it becomes very similar to a duck and loses almost all of its bright plumage. The appearance of the female is not much different from the appearance of most river ducks. In the plumage of the upper body, bright combinations of red, brown and black tones predominate, as can be seen in the photo. Bottom of body is painted in a reddish-brown color with blurry dark spots.
The same color has a ponytail and uppertail of the bird. Most often, duck breasts are colored in straw light colors. She, like the male, has a mirror on the wings. Her legs are not as bright as the male and on his background are rather pale. Interestingly, all youngsters look only like a female.
Distribution and habitat
Mallards are in most cases migratory birds. This species has about 7 subspecies, but some scientists distinguish only two. There is a mallard on all continents, and in Europe it spread right up to the Arctic belt. These ducks spend the winter in the south. They can even reach North Africa. The mallard lives in almost all water bodies. In winter, it can be found on the coast.
Biological features of the species
The formation of a pair for breeding occurs in the autumn-winter period of time. The duck nests predominantly on the ground, but it can choose for this and artificial hollows or naturally formed hollows in the trees. Females start laying eggs as early as March. Usually in one clutch there are from 9 to 13 eggs with a bluish shell.
During the laying period, the male monitors the safety of eggs and protects the nest.. But at the beginning of hatching, he leaves. This is due to the bright coloring of the males in the mating season. A predator from afar can notice it and thus, if it remains, it can bring trouble not only on itself, but on all offspring. The incubation period lasts approximately 28 days. When the chicks are born, the chicks leave the nest very quickly.
But for quite a long time they are unprotected, because the ability to fly they appear only at the age of three months. Having already acquired this ability, they feel safe, because, like other river ducks, mallards can take off from the spot at the slightest danger. Prior to that, the duck-mother, if her offspring is in danger, may pretend to be wounded, thus distracting the predator towards itself. In one year, one pair can breed only one offspring.
It is also interesting that the mallards are omnivores. They are looking for food in shallow water. To do this, they immerse their heads in water or immerse the entire front part of the water, thus taking a vertical position. A mallard cannot fully dive, because of the peculiarities of the structure of its body, the water will immediately push it up.