Mallards are large wild ducks which can be found near water in rural and urban areas in most parts of the world. They are known as dabbling ducks referring to their surface-feeding habits; they eat seeds, berries, water and terrestrial plants, insects and shell-fish. The male mallard (drake) has a distinctive green head, yellow-orange bill, and white collar whilst the female has a dull, mottled light and dark brown plumage and a brown to yellow bill; both sexes have fine white stripes bordering a blue patch on the upper side of the wings. Females nest in low vegetation near water and the breeding season extends from spring until the end of summer. Prior to the mating period rival males may fight to win the female; once the eggs are laid the female broods the eggs and raises the ducklings. During this period the males moult (developing a dull plumage more similar to the female) and tend to form groups that occasionally attack and forcibly mate with lone females.
There is more information about the Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) available on the website of the RSPB.
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