The Mallard, or Wild Duck, probably the best-known and most recognizable of all ducks, is a dabbling duck which breeds throughout the world including North America, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. It is a dabbling duck that breeds throughout the temperate and subtropical Americas, Eurosiberia, and North Africa and has been introduced to New Zealand, (where it is currently the most common duck species) Australia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Falkland Islands, and South Africa. It is the largest wild duck and can serve 2 people as a roast or stew.
It is strongly a migratory bird. It is the ancestor of all domestic ducks and can interbreed with other species of Genus Anas. This interbreeding is causing both the Mallard and rarer species of ducks to become genetically diluted. The male birds have bright green heads, while the female is light brown. It is a noisy species – the male has a nasal call, while the female has a “quack” stereotypically associated with ducks. Mallard drakes have bright green heads, while the female is light brown The Mallard lives in wetlands, eats water plants or grazes.
It usually nests on a riverbank, but not always near water. Mallards form pairs only until the female lays eggs, at which time she is left by the male. The ducklings can swim and feed themselves on insects as soon as they hatch, although they stay near the female for protection. The Mallard duck can cross-breed with 63 other species and is posing a severe threat to the genetic integrity of indigenous waterfowl.
The hybrids of Mallard and the Yellow-billed Duck are fertile and can produce more hybrid offspring. If this continues, only hybrids will occur and in the long term, this will result in the extinction of various indigenous waterfowl.
Mallard is the largest and best-known of all the wild ducks and also the most popular for cooking. It has a stronger flavour than domesticated ducks such as the Pekin or Barbary and much leaner flesh
Clutch: 8 to 13 eggs per clutch, up to 40 eggs a year over.
Incubation: 27 to 28 days
Fledgling: 50 to 60 days
Size: 0.9 to 1.2 kg