Belongs to: dabbling ducks

Mallard Anas platyryhnchos

BoCC Amber list

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Familiar duck of all aquatic habitats

Common and widespread resident in a wide variety of aquatic habitats from the sea to city centre ponds


Male has bottle green head and grey body, yellow bill, black rear end; female mottled brown with orangey bill; 60 cm

Feeds by up-ending or dabbling, eating aquatic vegetation, seeds, invertebrates and bread

Strong and powerful flight; groups take off at dusk to fly to farmland to feed on grain and seeds


Courtship begins in autumn, with drakes chasing and swimming round ducks, and pairs fly to breeding grounds in January

Nest is a usually a lined hollow on the ground, but sometimes in a hollow in a tree or in an old nest

One brood of up to 16 creamy eggs, February–May; ducklings usually attended by female only

© Alan Williams

© Ken Wooldridge