Waterfowl Commonly Seen in Practice

Mallard drake

Mallard Duck

The mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is one of the most widespread and abundant ducks in North America. Mallards breed anywhere on the continent where open water and food are available at some time during the year from city parks to tundra ponds. Almost all domestic ducks, except for the Muscovy duck, come from the mallard.

The most adaptable of ducks, the mallard’s ability to tolerate human activity means it is frequently encountered in urban settings.

The mallard diet is 90% vegetarian consisting of aquatic plants, marsh grasses, sedges, seeds, and acorns. Insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and fish also make up a portion of the diet.

The largest dabbling duck, this heavy-bodied bird typically weighs approximately 1.1 kg (2.4 lb). The male mallard is probably the most easily recognized duck with its brilliant green head; wide, flat, yellow bill; gray flanks, and curly, black tail.

Image of a mallard drake by Derrick Coetzee.

References

American Livestock Breeds Conservancy website. Available at: http://albc-usa.org/. Accessed on December 7, 2012.
Animal Diversity Web. Available at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Aix_sponsa/. Accessed December 08, 2012.

British Waterfowl Association. Available at: http://www.waterfowl.org.uk/index.html. Accessed on December 8, 2012.

Cosley zoo. White Pekin duck. Available at
http://www.cosleyzoo.org/species/white_pekin_duck.htm. Accessed on December 7, 2012.

Pedynowski D, Payne M. Captive-rearing and release criteria for mallards (Anas playtrhynchos). NWRA. Pp. 91-101.

Rogers Luebbert JA. Canada goose (Branta canadensis) rehabilitation: A natural history guide for veterinarians. Proc Assoc Avian Vet 1996. Pp. 245-251.

Sibley DA. The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York, NY; Alfred A. Knopf; 2000.

Speer BL. Pet waterfowl medicine and surgery. Annu Conf Proc MASAAV 2007. Pp. 90-92.

To cite this page: Pollock C. Waterfowl commonly seen in practice. December 19, 2012. LafeberVet Web site. Available at https://lafeber.com/vet/waterfowl-commonly-seen-in-practice/