Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mallard Duck

I apologize for the absurdly late post today, got a bit sidetracked with some other stuff. But one of those projects was a short trip to the zoo! In 40 degree weather! Not a whole lot was outside in that kind of climate, but there were loads and loads of Mallard Ducks. More Mallards than I've probably ever seen in one place, so tonight we're gonna dive into the wonderful world of ducks!

Mallards are the most widespread of all ducks, and are found in freshwater areas across the Northern Hemisphere, and have been introduced to many other locations. Mallards have become so widespread that some localized populations have changed enough to be considered their own separate species. Some Northern Mallard populations are migratory, while others remain in their location year round. Mallards can fly at speeds of up to 40mph.

Did you know that the Mallard is the ancestor of all the domestic ducks we have today, save the Muscovy Duck? When you think of the wild Mallard, and even many domestic variations, the bright green-headed male typically comes to mind. Females are far more drab in color. They are "dabbling ducks," which means that they do not dive for their food; they stay at the surface and feed off of plants, insects, and amphibians, occasionally dipping underwater.

Mallard Ducks form pairs during the breeding season, but the females are left by the males upon laying eggs (the males are very territorial up to that point). Between six and fourteen eggs are laid, and the chicks are able to swim and feed themselves right after hatching, but they will stay with their mother for about two months.

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