What makes a duck a duck

The mallard

The mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is the largest and most widespread duck in Germany. It belongs to the genus swimming ducks. Occurrence: You can see them all over Europe, on coasts and inland. Mallards are one of our native bird species and, in Northern Europe, one of the migratory birds. At around 60cm tall, it weighs around 1.5kg. What does a mallard look like? I will show you some pictures about the appearance, the determination and the description. You look for where and when they breed, what they eat, the age, the enemies, the color, the food, the clutch (number of eggs), the weight, the breeding season, the wingspan, the life expectancy, the characteristics, the size and what they eat, then look at the profile for children below. It is also worth visiting my duck info page.

Bird species Appearance: Identify mallard females and males

Habitat: The mallard can be seen most often at lakes, river landscapes, parks, gardens and in many irrigation ditches. What do mallards eat? Mallards are very adaptable when it comes to food choices. The food of the mallard consists of plants, seeds, worms, snails, frogs and sometimes a small mouse. Young mallard chicks look for their own food right from the start. In winter we have often found mallards in the garden at the feeding place for the birds. There they ate nuts, sunflower seeds and pieces of apples.
Now to the way of life. The mallards begin their first courtship around the end of September. This courtship serves to get to know each other (engagement). The main courtship takes place in January. Then you see the males fighting for the females. In the magnificent dress you can now clearly see the ornamental feathers behind the tail feathers in the males. In addition some pictures.

Way of life: The males fight during courtship

Mating season, reproduction and mating: The mating season begins in February, when you can see the mallards mating. Reproduction takes place in the water. As you can see in the pictures, the female is pushed under water during mating. Some females drown if several males pounce on a female to mate with her.

Images of the mating and reproduction of the mallard

When do mallards breed? The mallards start their breeding business in March. Most mallards lay 9 to 12 eggs. The incubation of the eggs does not begin until the last egg has been deposited, as the chicks are among those who flee the nest. The incubation period is approx. 28 days.
I have often seen mallards throwing unfertilized eggs out of their nest after 10-12 days. If you want to know more about the behavior (special features) and the breeding of the mallard, visit my page breeding behavior of the mallard. What do duck eggs look like? There is also a picture.

Clutch: Mallard eggs in the nest and unfertilized egg next to the nest

Where does the mallard breed? Sticky ends are very adaptable in the choice of their breeding place. At the beginning of March we were able to observe how every morning a female mallard sat on our garden fence, which is completely overgrown with ivy, in front of our front door and observed us and the environment. Is she looking for a breeding place?

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) observing

A few days later this mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) built a nest just a meter away from our front door, in which she then laid one more egg every day. In the evening, when she left the nest, she covered the eggs nicely with her feathers (down). We were looking forward to witnessing the hatching of the chicks in the near future - but we had done the math without our stone marten (enemy of the ducks), who has found a home in our attic. One morning our mallard stood on our sidewalk, completely confused. We were horrified to find that all but one egg had disappeared.
We added a couple of hen's eggs to see if she would keep the clutch, which was not the case. She gave up the clutch. Mallards have many enemies, e.g. the fox, the marten, the rats, the gulls, the sea eagles, and the corvids.

Way of life / special features: Mallard eggs in the nest with feathers (down)

Mallards don't just breed on the ground. They breed e.g. on roofs, in hollow tree trunks or, as can be seen in the next photos, on a pollarded willow.

Origin Name - Mallard breeds on a pollarded willow

Special feature: the mallard put a new clutch in another place in our garden. Here she had breeding success and five chicks hatched. On the way to the Dove Elbe, a foundling joined them. On my page, mallard pictures, you can see the mallard chicks well. If you want to see more pictures of wild ducks, visit my ducks page, there you can also see the mallard chicks jumping.

Way of life: Young mallard chicks in their habitat

The female is often solely responsible for the breeding business and the rearing of the young. However, I have already observed several times that the males also do their part in rearing the young, among other things when the chicks are brought to the water for the first time by the female, they protect their young from other ducks. Young ducklings are also abducted by other mallards who do not have young of their own (brood loss).
After about 60 days, the little mallards are fully fledged and can fly. More on the subject under:

Males and females lead their offspring together

When the first crossings of domestic and mallard ducks were seen, it was thought that a new species of duck had been discovered. But they're just very different looking bastards. More about the appearance of ducks in the moult, such as ducks in splendid dress and in simple dress.

Illustrations / pictures of the appearance of mallard hybrids

How old do mallards get? If the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) didn't have so many enemies, e.g. plastic garbage, the parasites, the weather, the avian flu, the humans, the foxes, the gulls, the birds of prey, the sea eagles, the stone marten, the pike, etc., it could to be 20 years old. Many mallard chicks die from predators up to a year old.

And finally, photos of the heads of a mallard family.

Special features: appearance of the mallard heads

Since I often get requests for profiles, there is now a small profile for children about the mallard and also the name in different languages, such as Latin, English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Mallard profile

Scientific name: Anas platyrhynchos
Family: ducks
English name: Mallard Duck
Spanish name: Anade real
French name: Canard colvert
Italian name: Germano reale
Size: 60cm
Weight: 1500g
Wingspan: 94 cm
Speeds: Below the speed of the birds
Reproduction / mating season: February to June
Breeding season: March to July
Breeding site: ground nesters, trees, buildings
Brood: 1 year brood
Eggs / clutch size: 9-12
Incubation period: 28 days
Nestling duration: nest-fledglers
Food: plants, seeds, worms, snails, crabs, mussels, frogs, bread
Age: life expectancy 20 years
Migratory bird: Yes
Enemies: fox, marten, white-tailed eagle, eagle owl, humans, weather, bird flu, parasites
Features: voice, head shiny green, yellow beak, blue mirror (feathers) on the side
Species protection: Federal Nature Conservation Act
The five senses of the mallard
Further information on bio and profiles under duck profiles and breeding behavior.

If you are looking for a dog, cat or mouse profile, visit my animal profiles page.

I am often asked: "I have found a sick mallard, what should I do?" You can find the answer under Frequently Asked Questions, Vogel found - What to do?

Pictures of my observations

Pictures of my observations with the mallards

Have fun on my pages, such as the long-tailed duck or the black-necked grebe.

If you want to find out something about the knowledge of birds, then visit my pages: What do birds and intelligent crows know. My side is very useful for projects in kindergarten, in the district school, in the grammar school, at the university and in the school for lectures and essays in biology, in zoology, in specialist classes, for worksheets, for species profiles and for presentations or for an essay in biology lessons popular. Here you will find everything for your profile template (elementary school, secondary school, high school) about birds. My page, mallard (feathered game) is also used to study for the hunter test in Germany.
There are extra bird pages for the children in preschool and for the children in elementary school, e.g. with pictures of chicks or with bird portraits. At the bottom of the page you will always find a list of other bird watching.

We made our mallard observations in the NSG Heuckenlock, the NSG Rhee and on the Doven Elbe in Hamburg.
We have had our most beautiful bird observations in Europe in Iceland, in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark), in Holland, in England, in Poland, in Austria, in Switzerland, in Belgium, in Ireland, in Italy, in France, in Portugal, in Spain, in Greece, in Germany in Berlin, in Hamburg on the Elbe, in Bremen, in North Rhine-Westphalia, in Baden-W├╝rttemberg, in Saarland, in Rhineland-Palatinate, in Bavaria, in Hesse, in Schleswig- Holstein, in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (Lewitz), in Thuringia, in Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and in Lower Saxony.

Observations, bird pictures and author: Gerhard Brodowski Hamburg

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