Mallard Duck (Anas platyrhynchos)

Mallard duck


  • Body length ranges from 51 to 71 centimetres (20 to 27 inches).


  • The male Mallard has an iridescent green head and upper neck separated from the chestnut chest by a white ring.
  • The back and wings are brownish gray with an irridescent purple speculum bordered front and back by white.
  • The underparts and sides are light gray, the tail feathers are gray with white borders, and the upper and under tail coverts are black.
  • The legs are reddish orange and the bill is yellow.
  • The female Mallard's upper parts are brown, streaked with black. Her throat and foreneck are buff and the underparts are buffy-gray spotted with brown-gray.
  • The male in eclipse plumage is similar to the female.


  • For both male and female, voice is a recognizable quack. Male voice is deeper than the female’s.
  • This species nests throughout most of North America, and winters from southern Canada to Panama.
Natural History


  • Typical habitats for this species include:
    • Agricultural areas
    • City parks
    • Lakes
    • Rivers
    • Springs
    • Wetlands


  • The Mallard duck’s diet includes:
    • Grasses
    • Grain fields
    • Seed
    • Various surface aquatic plants
Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • The nest is on the ground, made of grass, dead leaves, and lined with down.
  • 8 to 12 buffy-green eggs are laid.
Conservation and Management


The Mallard duck is classified as Secure in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:

Current management

  • Hunting season information for this species is provided in the current Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations. To view the guide online or to order a printed copy, visit the My Wild Alberta website at:


Page Information

Updated: Jan 8, 2014