The most abundant and familiar duck in the world, we may tend to take the beautiful drake for granted. His body is gray with a conspicuous tail curl. His speculum is metallic purplish blue set off, in front and back, with white.
The female "Mallard" is mottled brown with a white tail and purplish-blue speculum. Her bill is orange, whereas the male's is yellow.
The "Mallard" is a strong flier and has sometimes flown as far as remote oceanic islands.
These ducks breed over much of the United States and Canada, inhabiting ponds, lakes and marshes.
Calls or song.
The common male call is a rasping "rab" or "rabrab". Only the female produces the familiar loud "quack".
Population and distribution.
Nearly 10 million "Mallards" live in North America. They frequently interbreed with domestic ducks, producing an interesting variety of patterns and colors. They also hybridize with wild species related to the "American Black Duck" and "Pintails".
In a shallow bowl of grass lined with down, which is hidden in marsh grass or on a brush pile near the shore, the female lays 8-10 pale greenish-buff eggs.