Mallard

Anas platyrhynchos
Mallard specimens on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

The familiar mallard is the most numerous duck in Britain (3), and is the ancestor of the domestic duck (2). Both male and female mallards are easily identified by the presence of a dark blue band on the wing known as a 'speculum', which is bordered above and below with white (2). Males and females are distinct; males have a metallic bottle-green head, a crisp white neck-collar and a rich purplish-brown breast. The upperparts are grey, the flanks are somewhat paler, and the central feathers of the black tail are curled smartly upwards (2). In contrast, females are brown, with streaks of darker brown and buff (4). Juveniles are very similar to females, but lack the speculum (2). It is the female mallard who produces the well-known loud 'quack-quack' call; males produce a softer 'rhaeb', particularly when alert, and a 'piu' whistle during courtship (2).

DC Information

Common resident with different summer and winter populations. Nests from mid-March to late July. Released captive birds intermingle with wild birds. Usually found at freshwater ponds, reservoirs, marshes, and rivers. The male has a green head and chestnut breast, the female a brown head and streaking on the breast.

Specimen Information

The bird on the left is a male.
Date:  1/3/1924
Collected By:  Brent M Morgan
Locality:  Neabsco, VA
Sex:  Male
Catalog ID:  277187
 
The bird on the right is a female.
Date:  3/20/1924
Collected By:  Brent M Morgan
Locality:  Neabsco, VA
Sex:  Female
Catalog ID:  277215

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalizations

Anas platyrhynchos

Anas platyrhynchos

Sound from xeno-canto. XC25611 Anas platyrhynchos (Mallard)

Images