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Bird name:


Anas platyrhynchos




Geese and Ducks (Anatidae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Lakes, Rivers, Coastal and freshwater marshes

Breeding Type:

May be polygamous

Egg Colour:

Green or grey-buff

Number of Eggs:

8 - 14

Incubation Days:

26 - 30

Egg Incubator:


Nest Material:

Grass and twigs lined with down; locally available plant material or the hen's breast feathers.

Nest Location:

On the ground among vegetation, sometimes nests in trees and on riverbanks.


Northern birds migrate


Mallard: Medium-sized dabbling duck with grey body and chestnut-brown breast. Head is green and neck ring is white. Bill is yellow-green. Wing speculum is white-bordered metallic purple-blue. Tail is dark with distinct white edges and two curled black feathers. Legs and feet are orange. Female is mottled brown with mostly white tail, has a brown-saddled orange bill, and no curled tail feathers. Juvenile resembles female but has duller bill. Eclipse male is similar to female but is greyer overall and has olive-green bill. Hybridizes with domestic ducks.

Range and Habitat

Mallard: Widespread resident in the UK and Ireland. Many birds from northern Europe and Iceland come to Britain and Ireland for the winter. Preferred habitats include ponds, lakes, marshes, small river bends, bays, and ditches. Flocks may be seen on the sea and large lakes in the winter.

Breeding and Nesting

Mallard: Eight to fourteen green or grey-buff eggs are laid in a down-lined nest, usually built on the ground among vegetation, sometimes far from water; occasionally nests in trees. Incubation ranges from 26 to 30 days and is carried out by the female. Young fledge after 50 to 60 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Mallard: Dabbles in shallow freshwater for vegetation, insects, mollusks, and crustaceans. Feeds on the leaves, shoots, and roots of water plants, such as stonewort, rushes, grasses, pondweeds and sedges. Often forages for food in fields and woodlots.

Readily Eats

Cracked Corn


Mallard: Call is a low "kwek, kwek, kwek."

Similar Species

Mallard: Females more likely to be confused. Gadwalls have a paler undersides.

The upper front part of a bird.
The brightly colored area on the wing (secondaries of the wing) on several duck species.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX