Birds

Mallard
Anas platyrhynchos

Habitat:

The Mallard is a common duck typically seen in freshwater or brackish water situations such as ponds, drainage channels and marshes. However it is also sometimes seen in coastal saltwater habitats and occasionally foraging in grassy locations on land.

Characteristics:

Mallards are common, medium sized, very well known ducks. The average length of adults is 23 inches or 58 centimetres. Males and females are distinctly different. Males have a glossy-green head and neck, with a white neck ring. The breast is chestnut, the body grey and brown and the rump black and white. There are 4 curled tail feathers. There is a purple wing patch. The bill is greenish-yellow and the legs orange. Females have a pale-brown head streaked with darker-brown or black. The top of the body is brown and the under-parts are buff mottled with dark greyish- brown. There is a purple wing patch with a white border, similar to that of males. Mallards breed in Bermuda. The nests are built on the ground in marshes or the reedy borders of ponds. The nest is constructed of reeds and grasses and lines with down. Eight- fourteen eggs, greenish or olive in colour are usually laid. The young ducks soon take to the water and follow the parents for several weeks. The Mallard was introduced and has become firmly naturalised. This widespread duck is native to Europe and Asia. It has been widely introduced throughout the world.

Similar Animals:
The male Mallard is distinctive but the female can be confused with the American Black Duck, a frequent visitor to Bermuda. Male Black Ducks are a chocolate-brown and the females lack the white border on the wing patch seen in the mallard.

Conservation Importance:

These introduced birds are now commonplace in Bermuda. They do not seem to be displacing any native or endemic species but they probably do eat some scarce freshwater animals. 

 

Photograph and text by Martin L. H. Thomas