And that’s ok. It doesn’t look familiar, and you can’t find it in your field guide. This Gadwall with a white hind neck was at Montezuma NWR, Seneca Co., NY, 29 October 2005. They have calm temperaments and will … Male ducks provide no parental care, and female ducks do not have to feed their young, just lead them around. precisely matters because Mallard-descendant ducks molt on a different cycle than Muscovy ducks. Of all the types of ducks, the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is one of the most widespread and most familiar species in the world, and they are the ancestors of most domestic duck breeds. They were originally bred as live decoys to attract or “call” wild ducks in to be shot, and are still sometimes known as decoy ducks. Almost everyone knows what a duck looks like, although not every bird that looks like a duck, is a duck. That means they’re cuter. (It turns out that most females of the Mallard close relatives find a green head really sexy, and they will hook up with Mallard males whenever they are available. 4. It may or may not have the curled feathers over the tail, and the speculum can be blue like a Mallard or more purple like the black duck. This normal American Wigeon was at Montezuma NWR, Seneca Co., NY, 29 October 2005. document.write("&hours="+(new Date()).getHours()); Mottled ducks have a blue-purple speculum but it lacks the thick white borders, and green-winged teal have a two-tone green and black patch that also lacks white borders. In extreme northern areas, mallards will migrate, but only as far south as they need to find a suitable location to spend the winter months. Sometimes the hybrid pairs are between species that are not closely related, such as Hooded Merganser X Common Goldeneye. Many mallards are exposed to hazardous chemicals, particularly in urban or suburban areas, including oil, pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides. Odd, often irregular white patches can be a sign of partial albinism. Female Mallards give the typical duck call: quaaack!-quackquackquack! "My normal spread includes from five to six dozen decoys. The pygmies of the domestic duck world are the “Call” ducks. Many of the domestic breeds look like the wild birds, but usually are larger. The two most popular are white (an all white duck) and grey (looks like a mini Mallard) Swedish – A medium to large size dual purpose bird, they are slow growing and excellent natural foragers. When standing, they may raise each leg off the snow or ice and bring it into their feathers to warm up, or they will nestle down over their legs to warm them both. Both species will cross with Mallards. During that time they grow progressively more independent, but will still rely on her guidance to be led to food sources and away from danger. Dabbling ducks are unusual in that the males have a very briefly held drab plumage in the summer, known as an “eclipse” plumage. You can expect 3-4 eggs per week with varying shades of white, blue and green. These are fine options for what to feed ducks and will help provide them more suitable nutrition, particularly for young hatchlings. In adult greenheads, the coverts are essentially a solid mass of gray/brown, whereas many juveniles’ coverts are individually distinguishable due … The most likely of other species for Mallards to hybridize with, at least in North America, is the American Black Duck Anas rubripes. The bottom line to this article is that you can expect to find some ducks out there (as well as other birds, too) that just do not look like anything in your books. It’s hard to know for sure, and Gillham and Gillhan (1996) give several known combinations that look like this duck. The birds look weird and might be mistaken for hybrids, but if you know such things exist you should be less surprised to see such a mix of male and “female” characters. The male … Because mallards are so widespread, they often crossbreed with other duck species, including escaped domestic ducks. Feral cats and other invasive predators, vehicle collisions, and illegal poaching are also problems. Mallard


Please check out all … Could he … Meanwhile, their breasts and abdomens are well insulated with feathers and down. Hybrid male Mallard X American Black Duck can be rather readily identified. It can be hard to tell sometimes if a duck is a mutant or has domestic duck genes. It is not uncommon to see a mallard hen attempting to cross a street with a dozen or more chicks in tow. 5. During the mating season, male ducks will have very bright coloration in their plumage to attract mates. They are great egg producers but have totally tubular bodies. Ducks that feed on seeds or waste grain must also leave the area when snow falls cover their foods. It is always good to look at the shape and size of any suspect duck and see if it looks like the other, more normally plumaged ducks around it. These are very odd, tall, skinny ducks that look like bowling pins. To be positive about the identification of a mallard hen, study the bill and head markings closely and note the color of the legs. DUCKS Ducks generally have heavy bodies, short legs, short neck and a flat bill. All of the other breeds are descended from mallards, which mean they talk like mallards. The Union Springs Brewer’s Duck is very similar. The big ducks bullied her so badly that my daughter finally rehomed her to an avid duck hunter. Often they have the Mallard‘s curled tail feathers and paler coloration then a pure American Black Duck on their back and flanks. It’s in eclipse plumage or transitioning out. I am new to ducks, in the middle of a big learning curve I have a duck that looks like a Mallard but came to me with a family of Muscovy's. Other color variations include faded and pale versions of normal (“apricot,” “buff,” or “fawn”), somewhat darker and without the white neck ring (“dusky”), or faded silvery (“blue”). Mallard Ducks eat mostly aquatic vegetation. First rule of thumb:  If your weird duck is found at a park, walking around on the grass or coming near people, it is probably a domestic duck. This is Audubon's painting of "Bemaculated Duck" or "Brewer's Duck." The transition back to the classy nuptial plumage can take a while, and the plumage can be mixed. While the speculum can be a key identification characteristic for mallards, other duck species do have a similar iridescent wing patch. Observe the duck's plumage (feathers). The mallard is a medium-sized waterfowl species that is often slightly heavier than most other dabbling ducks. This situation can lead to careless sex and consequently hybridization. Identifying hybrid mallards can be a challenge, but certain clues can pinpoint the bird's identity. Usually these white spots are not symmetrical across both sides, and that asymmetry should tip you off to think domestic influence. It is 50–65 cm (20–26 in) long – of which the body makes up around two-thirds – has a wingspan of 81–98 cm (32–39 in),: 505 and weighs 0.72–1.58 kg (1.6–3.5 lb). After mating season, the male duck will molt and lose his bright coloration and resemble a female. Howell is a strong believer in using several species in his spread. A typical nest will contain 4-15 eggs, but some mallard hens have been observed laying eggs in other hens' nests, resulting in even larger broods of unrelated siblings. Another indication of the bird's species will be others in the flock, since mallards are highly social and many flocks will have hybrid members. Mallards can be found in a wide range of habitats, and they are one of the few duck species that will remain in an area even through winter, so long as there is open water for foraging. After mating season, the male duck will molt and lose his bright coloration and resemble a female. PEKIN DUCKS Pekin ducks embody exactly what most people envision as the classic domesticated duck. document.write("Shipped with USPS Priority Mail.

Nice collectible duck made from Paper Mâché this has been used and has shotgun pellets holes on the front. The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. So get out and see what you can find. Where the face patch comes from is anybody’s guess, and nothing has a black-and-tan bill like this bird. This area of coloration is known as a speculum. Mallards are migratory birds that lay, nest, and hatch eggs seasonally. This Gadwall with a white fore neck was at Montezuma NWR, Seneca Co., NY, 14 April 2002. Albinism and other color abnormalities are rather common. In the meantime, while all the Mallards look like brownish females, there is one way to distinguish males from females. For drakes, however, a key field mark is the tightly curled tail feathers on the top of the rump. Highly adaptable, these ducks are familiar to most birders, but they are always worth watching and always have something to teach both novice and expert birders. However, know that there are many types of ducks, and BirdEden categorizes them accompanied by their identification features and pictures to help you understand them well. While hybrid birds or young mallard drakes may not show this feature as clearly, any lift or curl to these tail feathers will indicate a male mallard. Mallard ducks are sexually dimorphic, which means the males and females look different from each other. When people go out looking for wild birds they seem to forget that domestic breeds exist. This normal Gadwall was at Montezuma NWR, Seneca Co., NY, 29 October 2005. Ducks gain weight very easily (I have that in common with them.) Once nesting starts the juvenile birds from the previous year will seek their own territories and nest sites nearby to raise their own broods. And watch to see which duck is quacking. Though mallards are not considered threatened or endangered, that does not mean they are not subject to a variety of dangerous threats. A domestic duck can be twice the size of a wild Mallard. (Well, the Hawaiian Duck does too, but the chances of seeing one of those around here is about zero.) If not, try one of the other possibilities. These chemicals can coat their plumage, and the birds will ingest the toxins as they try to preen away the contamination. What is that strange looking duck? When we think of ducks, we mostly picture the mallard ducks or those that are found in local ponds. It has been accepted as a Mallard X Gadwall hybrid. Mallards are well insulated against the cold, but they also have other ways to keep warm. In prime feeding or nesting areas, mallards may mix with other duck species and waterfowl, including northern pintails, American wigeons, gadwalls, ring-necked ducks, American coots, and Canada geese. This sounds very much like Donald Duck of cartoon fame. document.write("meter.asp?site=tichodroma"); through a Swarovski HD80 or Swarovski AT80 spotting scope. The Mallard is the ancestor of nearly all domestic duck breeds (everything except the Muscovy Duck). Urban parks are typically over-populated with ducks, and females may also look for nesting locations away from drakes (male ducks) that may attempt to copulate with them even after … It is 50–65 cm (20–26 in) long – of which the body makes up around two-thirds – has a wingspan of 81–98 cm (32–39 in), and weighs 0.72–1.58 kg (1.6–3.5 lb). They may also feed along the surface by dipping their bills into the water without fully submerging their upper bodies. The white neck band on a male Gadwall or the white cheeks on a male American Wigeon are examples that you can find if you just look through enough individuals. They often return to the same nesting sites for each breeding season. This bland coloration serves female mallards well, as it provides good camouflage for tending a nest and caring for hatchlings. The mallard is a medium-sized waterfowl species that is often slightly heavier than most other dabbling ducks. Looking closer, this Nike SB Dunk High uses textures and shimmering details to create a colorway that mimics the look and feel of a male mallard duck. On rare occasions, mallards may nest above the ground on roofs, ledges, or in hollow trees, but most mallard nests are at ground level and near water. One mark that seems to show up more frequently is pinioning, where the tip of one wing is surgically removed to keep the bird from flying. Audubon thought that his bird might be a cross between a Mallard and a Gadwall. Regardless of the location, however, a mallard's nest is typically well concealed in brush or plants, and it is lined with down the female will pluck from her own breast. Males give a high-pitched queeep! People seem to love to breed white or partially white domestic animals, presumably because such mutations don’t do well in the wild and consequently are rare. Mallards can nest in many unusual locations, including planter baskets, flower beds, or brush piles, even close to human habitation. She has over 16 years experience writing about wild birds for magazines and websites. Drivers should be cautious of ducks nearby in spring and summer, particularly near ponds, rivers, and swamps. There are some chipped areas in the paint but nothing the detours from the look and paint worn off the edges. [More female quacking] That’s the female Mallard. Look for The male mallard’s green head and yellow bill are easily recognizable, but female mallards—with their overall dark brown coloration—can be confused with black ducks, mottled ducks, and other female ducks. What do they look like? Mallard ducks are sexually dimorphic, which means the males and females look … In captivity where ducks from all over are housed together, anything can happen. 50 Ducks Merchandise https://www.cafepress.com/50ducks Support via Patreon https://www.patreon.com/50DucksInAHotTub?ty=h Donate One Time or … Hybrid mallards may have a creamy buff or allover brown plumage, or may show splotches of white or black in unexpected places. Ruddy ducks can fly swiftly but almost never twist, turn or dive in flight like buffleheads. Female mallard ducks have mottled brown heads with orange and brown bills. Protein food Mallards will also feed on land, though they are less agile and have a slow waddling gait. The first breeds of domestic Mallard were bred for food, and consequently for large body size. So long as food remains plentiful, large mixed flocks are common, but the birds will begin to separate and seek better areas if resources run out. But, these domestic monsters do get mixed up in flocks of wild birds, too, so how do you spot them? Note its presence, if faint, in the second Mallard X black duck pictured above. But, domestics can be smaller than normal too. Older ducklings are bolder and will venture further from their mother's care, but frequently return to the family to rest or roost at night. Mallards look for nesting locations away from likely predators. The bright yellow bill contrasts with his iridescent green head, which is bordered by a white collar. It is not unusual to see several mallards huddling together in the coldest weather to share communal body heat. Mallards are fairly large ducks with a 23-inch body length. In general, watch for symmetrical abnormalities, patches of color or lack of color. Ducks winter in mild areas where food is plentiful and the water rarely freezes like the Mississippi Alluvial Valley in … This is not only a protection measure against predators, but also because favored food sources and open water are more scarce. A hen's chin and throat tend to have less speckling, and they have a clear face pattern with a dark eye stripe and dark crown. Buffleheads: Nothing else looks like a black-and-white drake butterball. Dabbling Duck. You will see them duck their head underwater with their butts in the air as they feed on pond weed. During the mating season, male ducks will have very bright coloration in their plumage to attract mates. The green on the head, white tail, black rear end, and pale neck ring are good Mallard characters. Females, however, lack these curly tail feathers. Found wild throughout the Northern Hemisphere, mallards have also been introduced to many other areas and can easily be found in ponds, lak… Mallards are dabbling ducks that "tip up" to feed by foraging in shallow water for aquatic plants, insects, mollusks, and crustaceans. In fact, most Rouens can barely fly The chest is a rich chestnut and leads to grayish white underparts. That means sometimes we get European or Asian ducks turning up in North America. document.write(""); A black duck X Mallard male will often have the mostly dull plumage of the black duck and some green on the head. Only two species of ducks have been domesticated:  the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and the Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata). This hybridization can create unique plumage colors and indistinct markings that make identification difficult. Its iconic green head sits atop a white neckband that sets off a chestnut-colored chest and gray body. This pair of Mandarin Ducks was seen in the marina at Myers Point, Tompkins Co., NY, 16 January 2003. For drake mallards, look for edging on the primary coverts (the first line of feathers above the primaries) and the middle and lesser coverts (located on the upper third of the wing). This transitioning Green-winged Teal was in Union Springs, Cayuga Co., NY, 22 December 2001. Observe the duck's plumage (feathers). The clues for finding a hybrid are not so clear cut. Their plumage is an overall mottled brown-buff, with light centers to the largest feathers on the back and less distinct speckling on the underparts. Transitional Mallards can look like hybrids with American Black Ducks. But does this bird have Mallard in it? This Brewer's Duck look-alike was in Union Springs, Cayuga Co., NY, 13 February 2006. The amount of light, however, can affect the exact color of the speculum and how brilliant it appears. Keeping ornamental waterfowl is very popular. They tend to look like the American Black Duck but with Mallard-green on the head. The passion for weird plumage in domestic ducks does not stop with white, but can go the other way too. The incubation period is 25-30 days, and the hen does the majority of the incubation. Some mutations or odd plumages aren’t the result of albinism, but seem just to be rare variations. The best local examples of this phenomenon are the Mandarin Duck pair that was at Myers Point, Lansing, NY briefly in January 2003, and the Red-crested Pochards (and hybrid) that put in an appearance there many years ago. Mallard breeds can be somewhat confusing. The back is grayish brown, and the blue speculum on the wings is bordered by thick white lines. Large rafts of mallards are also common in all seasons where food sources are plentiful, such as in urban parks or popular nesting grounds. The big ducks bullied her so badly that my daughter finally rehomed her to an avid duck hunter. Called a “confidence decoy,” herons add a bit of realism to a decoy spread. When pinioned ducks flap, you can see the half-a-wing pretty clearly (as was the case with the aforementioned pochards). Mallards are the most familiar dabbling species, but other dabbling ducks include American black ducks, northern pintails, gadwalls, American wigeons, northern shovelers, and several species of teals. Sportsmen can add more color to mallard decoys. Again, lots of white is often involved, including all-white breeds like the popular Pekin Duck. In this article I will attempt to explain some of them and give common examples of each. The scientific name for the Mallard Duck is Anas Platyrhynchos. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board, these ducks are omnivorous and eat a wide variety of foods. Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 25.7 to 30.6 cm (10.1 to 12.0 in), the bill is 4.4 to 6.1 cm (1.7 to 2.4 in), and the tarsusis 4.1 to 4.8 cm (… Mallard Ducks will grow … They can have normal Mallard plumage, white, faded, or dark. The rump and undertail coverts are black and contrast with white outer tail feathers, and the legs and feet are a bright orange. Generally speaking, white ducks in Florida are a result of hybridization with feral or domestic ducks like “pekin” ducks or muscovy ducks. In flight, the iridescent blue or purple speculum on a mallard's wing is clearly visible. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. They will also eat insects, worms, fish, grass seed, wheat and corn. I imagine they are all from the same brood, so could this one be a cross. Within a few days, the chicks will also be dabbling to feed beneath the surface. Even if they’re not obviously larger, they tend to be bulkier and more dumpy looking, especially in the belly. Mallards are fairly large ducks with a 23-inch body length. Hens have a bright orange bill smudged with black or gray, but the nail on the tip of the bill is always black. Small green patches on the head can be a good sign of some Mallard parentage. Call ducks are tiny, teal-sized things that have smaller bills and more rounded heads than normal ducks. Like the drakes, their legs and feet are bright orange. Body size can often be a clue toward domesticity. Some breeds are darker than normal Mallard plumage. document.write("&minutes="+(new Date()).getMinutes()); Pekins, Khaki Campbells, Runners, Swedish, Cayuga, Call, Silver Appleyard ducks and more, are all distant relatives of the wild mallard. Second rule of thumb:  If your duck has large patches of white where you didn’t expect it, think domestic duck. Third rule of thumb: If it looks the same as the others ducks around it in every way except color (even behavior), then it probably is a mutant. Of all the types of ducks, the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is one of the most widespread and most familiar species in the world, and they are the ancestors of most domestic duck breeds. Look for her orange and black bill. This bibbed domestic Mallard was in Union Springs, Cayuga Co., NY, 19 February 2006. While the speculum may not be visible on standing or swimming birds depending on their posture, it is always seen in flight. Just be aware that very odd things exist in the world of domestic poultry, and oddity should make you consider domestic origin. Like a lone sentinel, a blue heron decoy overlooks a decoy spread. Listen for. Female mallard ducks looks quite similar to Florida mottled ducks, but have two white bars surrounding a bar of bright blue on their wing. More frequently than that, we find escaped “pet” ducks. Other nesting materials include leaves, sticks, grasses, and twigs. Also look for plumage patterns similar to the colored head bordered by a collar or the colored speculum, even if the colors on the hybrid duck don't match classic mallard plumage. The gray sides, dark rear end, and intricately patterned chest suggest Gadwall. The male mallard’s green head and yellow bill are easily recognizable, but female mallards—with their overall dark brown coloration—can be confused with black ducks, mottled ducks, and other female ducks. Instead of feeding mallards bread, opt for more nutritional substitutes such as cracked corn, oats, birdseed, chopped vegetables, or grape halves. Look for her orange and black bill. Waterfowl can be fun for beginning birders because they are relatively easy to watch, not flitting through the trees or into the bushes like little dicky birds. The Mallard is the most abundant and widespread of all waterfowl; every year hunters harvest millions of birds with little effect on the overall population. This dusky call duck was in Union Springs, Cayuga Co., NY, 19 February 2006. Pictures taken with an Olympus D-450, D-40, or Sony Sureshot digital camera Geese generally have longer necks and are larger than most ducks. document.write("\" border=0 alt=\"Site Meter\">"). Found wild throughout the Northern Hemisphere, mallards have also been introduced to many other areas and can easily be found in ponds, lakes, and rivers, as well as in artificial habitats such as golf courses, parks, gardens, and even yards. One popular dark breed is known as the “Cayuga Duck,” and it may have actually originated in our area (central New York) in the 19th century. A male mallard in breeding plumage is instantly recognizable and unmistakable. Mother mallards also help insulate the chicks from poor weather, often standing over them or spreading their wings over their broods to shelter ducklings from excessive rain or hot sun. Domestic ducks aren’t that exciting to me, and once you realize that most out-of-place waterfowl are escapees and not real vagrants, they lose a little luster too. Other forms and crosses can have spots of white just about anywhere. All of the other breeds are descended from mallards, which mean they talk like mallards. The easiest way to spot them is when they have characters intermediate between the parental species. Hybrid male Mallard X American Black Duck can be rather readily identified. Snacks like brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole wheat bread will absolutely make their day. ROUEN Rouens look a lot like Mallards stuffed with more Mallards, which is to say they are much heavier than their wild kin. Bill color is a useful field mark. This duck is dark all over and rather iridescent, like its shiny speculum feathers got spread over the entire bird. A large group of ducks is called a raft, and mallards frequently form large roosting colonies in the winter. Mottled Ducks can look much like Mexican Ducks but typically have more blackish bodies. document.write("&refer="+escape(document.referrer)); The recent call duck hanging out at Union Springs, NY is a male (with some problems), and can be recognized by his cute look, curled tail feathers, “dusky” coloring, and the fact that he’s in love with a female Mallard. It can be surprising how many people have captive ducks and geese. They have very distinctive plumages with large patches of color in bold patterns that make identification relatively easy. Weird things happen in nature. Very cute yellow glass eyes. Common Name: Mallard, Mallard DuckScientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos.