Throughout the Year
Stroll over to BBG’s Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and you’re bound to encounter some mallards swimming among the koi or sunning themselves on rocks alongside the turtles. The green-headed males are instantly recognizable. Less flashy, the all-brown females are often seen in springtime leading their ducklings around.
Most typically, males have shiny, Kelly green heads, yellow bills, and a thin white band around the neck, brown-gray backs and wings and a rich brown chest. Tails are black and white. Feet are reddish orange.
Females are mottled brown-tan all over with a dark brown line over the eyes and a vibrant blue stripe on wings. Orange bill and feet. Juveniles resemble female mallards.
Mallards can be found throughout North America in wetlands, near lakes and ponds, and in urban parks with water features.
Waddlers on land, mallards are dabblers in the water: they tip their heads underwater and their rears skyward to search for food. Mallards make their nests on the ground, digging out shallow trenches and lining them with plant matter and down from the female’s chest. Females lay clutches of 8 to 12 eggs, and spend 50 to 70 days after the ducklings hatch protecting and teaching her offspring.
Aquatic plants, snails, slugs, dragonflies, and seeds, roots, and tubers.
It’s the female mallards that let out the characteristic mallard quack (males have a quieter raab call).
Mallards at BBG