He Mallard

These photo’s of the Male Mallard Duck were taken at Policemen Creek, Canmore, ALberta.

Photo by J.Borno

The Mallard is the ancestor of almost all of the varieties of domestic ducks, others being descended from the Muscovy Duck and American Black Duck.

Photo by J.Borno

The name is derived from the Old French malart or mallart “wild drake”, although its ultimate derivation is unclear. It may be related to an Old High German masculine proper name Madelhart, clues lying in the alternate English forms “maudelard” or “mawdelard”.

Photo by J.Borno

Mallards frequently interbreed with their closest relatives, such as the American Black Duck, and also with species more distantly related, for example the Northern Pintail, leading to various hybrids that may be fully fertile.

Photo by J.Borno

This is quite unusual among different species, and apparently is because the Mallard evolved very rapidly and not too long ago, during the Late Pleistocene only. Among close relatives of the Mallard this hybridisation can cause genetic dilution, which is contributing to the decline of rarer species of ducks.

Photo by J.Borno

The adulthood age for Mallards is 14 months and the average life expectancy is 20 years. During the breeding season, male birds were recorded to have eaten 37.6% animal matter and 62.4% plant matter.

Photo by J.Borno

It usually feeds by dabbling for plant food or grazing; there are reports of it eating frogs.

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