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Mallard (Male)

Mallard (Male)
The mallard is a dabbling duck which breeds throughout the temperate and subtropical Americas, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and has been introduced to New Zealand and Australia. Mallards live in wetlands, eat water plants and small animals, and are gregarious. This species is the ancestor of most breeds of domestic ducks. Two months after hatching, the fledgling period has ended and the duckling is now a juvenile. Between three to four months of age, the juvenile can finally begin flying as its wings are fully developed for flight (which can be confirmed by the sight of purple speculum feathers). Its bill will soon lose its dark grey coloring and its sex can finally be distinguished by three factors. The bill coloring is yellow in males, black and orange for females. The breast feathers are reddish-brown for males, brown for females. The center tail feather is curled for males (called a drake feather), straight for females. The mallard is widely distributed across the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, North America from southern and central Alaska to Mexico, the Hawaiian Islands, and across Eurasia, from Iceland and southern Greenland and parts of Morocco (North Africa) in the west, Scandinavia to the north, and to Siberia, Japan, and China in the east, Australia and New Zealand in the Southern hemisphere. It is strongly migratory in the northern parts of its breeding range, and winters farther south. For example, in North America, it winters south to Mexico, but also regularly strays into Central America and the Caribbean between September and May. It is found in both fresh- and salt-water wetlands, including parks, small ponds, rivers, lakes and estuaries, as well as shallow inlets and open sea within sight of the coastline. Mallards usually form pairs (in October and November in the Northern hemisphere) only until the female lays eggs at the start of nesting season which is around the beginning of spring, at which time she is left by the male who joins up with other males to await the molting period which begins in June (in the Northern hemisphere). The ducklings are precocial and fully capable of swimming as soon as they hatch. However, filial imprinting compels them to instinctively stay near the mother not only for warmth and protection but also to learn about and remember their habitat as well as how and where to forage for food. When ducklings mature into flight-capable juveniles, they learn about and remember their traditional migratory routes (unless they are born and raised in captivity). After this, the juveniles and the mother may either part or remain together until the breeding season arrives. Cropped only; otherwise untouched.

Claudine Gaulier-Denis, Michel, Eunice Perkins, JCW and 4 other people have particularly liked this photo

8 comments - The latest ones
Don Sutherland
Don Sutherland
Great photo.
3 years ago.
Poulet Santivasa Anantnitivate
Poulet Santivasa Ana…
Great shot!
3 years ago.
Pam J
Pam J

I love seeing his foot under the water !
3 years ago.
well done!
3 years ago.
Eunice Perkins
Eunice Perkins
So beautiful!
3 years ago.
Lil I --( Irene2carton old flickr name )
Lil I --( Irene2cart…
stunning shot i love the reflections
3 years ago.
Kris W (Formerly kmw1018 on Flickr)
Kris W (Formerly kmw…
Many thanks to you all!
3 years ago.
Jeff Farley
Jeff Farley
An excellent image Kris, thank you for posting to Fur, Fin and Feather.
7 months ago.