Tuesday, February 25, 2014


The male mallard is one of the most beautiful ducks, exotic looking but common, and the mallard is ancestor to most of the breeds of domestic ducks. The male has a glossy bottle-green head, a white collar, a purple-tinged brown breast, gray/brown wings, pale gray belly, black rear and black tail tinged with white borders, coral red feet and legs and a yellow/green bill. The central black tail feather, or drake feather, is curled (but not so in females). The female is mottled with individual feathers showing significant contrast from light to dark brown, buff cheeks, throat and neck, with a darker crown and eye stripe, orange legs and feet and an orange bill splotched with brown. Both males and females have iridescent purple/blue speculum feathers (back, down-side, closer to the body) edged with black and white.
Two mallard males at the edge of Lake Bled in Slovenia. Note the coral red feet and legs which stand out against the green and brown.
Along Lake Bled. Note the black tail with white border, the iridescent purple/blue wing feathers bordered by black and white and the yellowish/green bill.
This mallard male, in Rudesheim, Germany, reveals its curly black drake feather and a side view of the purplish/blue wing feathers. 
The glossy green head, white collar, brown breast, coral feet and legs and curly drake feather.
This mallard female in Rudesheim shows great blending in ability. The orange on the bill is almost totally dominated by the brown and the variation in the mottled feathers is beautiful.
More orange shows on the bill from the side and the brown eye line is readily visible. 
Mallard in Leyden, Netherlands. Note that the purplish/blue wing feathers are not showing as they also do not show on the females in the pictures above.
Looking a little daffy with its mouth open.
It is widely distributed, over most of North America, Europe and Central Asia and down into North Africa, and southern Australia.


  1. I love the iridescent green. Maybe I should try that color next time I get my hair done.