NatureMapping Animal Facts for Kids

Mallard Facts

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
El Pato Silvestre - en Espaņol

distribution map

What they look like: Both the male and the female have bright orange feet and a purple-blue rectangle of color where the wing joins the body.

It is easy to tell the male from the female. The male has brownish feathers and a green colored head. He also has a white collar around the neck, a brown breast, and curly tail feathers. Male Mallard standing The female is only brown and white. She is smaller than the male and has straight tail feathers.

Body Length: 20-28 inches.
Wing tip to wing tip: 30-40 inches.

Where they live: The mallard is common in North America, Northern Central America, much of Europe, Asia, and Africa. In summer, the mallard can be seen in Alaska, Canada and the northern United States.

Mallards are found on shallow bodies of fresh water, on lakes, marshes and even flooded fields. Mallard swimming

What they eat: They like to eat grass seeds, pond weeds and other water plants. They also eat insects, small fish, tadpoles, freshwater snails, fish eggs, and even frogs.

Mallards feed by "dabbling" and upending, meaning that they tip their bodies into water, bill first, with tail in the air to reach below the surface with its bill. They can then reach plants that grow in the shallows of ponds, lakes, streams and swamps.

Did you know?

  • The female Mallard has between five and 14 light green eggs that she incubates for 30 days.
  • The ducklings are lead to water as soon as their soft, downy feathers are dry. They first fly about 2 months after hatching.
  • Most Mallard ducks live for one or two years, but some can live as long as 16 years!
  • Mallards swim with their tail held above the water. When they are alarmed, they can spring directly out of the water and into the air.

Male Mallard

Female Mallard

Mallard Silhouette

Mallard Tracks
by J. Wernet, age 12

photos by Tim Knight

Animal silhouettes available to purchase »

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