If we are talking about waterfowl, the first bird that comes to mind is the mallard duck from the duck family. Due to the fact that this duck is almost omnivorous and does not require special living and living conditions, its geographical distribution is amazing.
- Description of the bird
- Breeding of the bird
- How the nesting
- Mallard Mallard
- How the Mallard cares for feathers
- What mallard eats
- How ducklings develop
- Recommendations for home keeping
The only place where mallards cannot be found is Antarctica, although there is still a breed of North American mallard. mallards are that you can easily find out what a drake looks like as a female. Naturally, due to the unpretentiousness of a duck, it is often bred in households, as well as in large-scale farms. We learn more about this bird.
Description of the bird
Let’s move on to a brief description of the mallard. Mallard refers to true ducks that habitually inhabit rivers. The peculiarity of mallard feeding is that it does not look for food in the depths, but is content only with what it can find at a distance of the neck lowered into the water. This type of duck is quite large, its weight reaches a mark of 2-2.5 kg. The bird swims excellently, rarely dives, moves with difficulty overland, without developing high speed.
As for the flight, here the mallard, like other birds, is able to fly fast, while making a characteristic sound of wingspan and a sound like a whistle, the voice of a mallard (scream) is often used by hunters as a decoy. The voice of this duck cannot be confused with anyone else. In general, mallard hunting is a popular attraction for men. Most often they use a decoy duck for this purpose, which is able to attract their relatives and lure them into a trap.
What do mallard ducks look like? The color of the feathers differs between females and males, as usual the color of the drake is more vivid and expressive. The male has blue-green spots on the head and neck, at the bottom of the neck there is a pronounced collar of white color, the back is most often black or blue-black, the same color is also characteristic of the abdomen. At the same time, the sides and breast tend to brown more. The mallard feathers on the wings have several shades, are decorated with a small oval speck, which differs sharply from the main color. The female does not look so attractive, her main color is gray with red, and her belly is slightly lighter, so the duck is often called gray mallard. It is also worth saying that the female mallard is much smaller than the drake and lives less (their life expectancy is reduced by 1-2 years).
The gray duck mallard is currently an industrial bird, which is used as prey for hunting. At the same time, the well-known domestic ducks are descendants of the wild, it is from her that their origin originates.Mallard is now increasingly used for decorative purposes: for the settlement of artificial ponds and other reservoirs, as it is the natural habitat for mallards, but hunting does not lose its popularity.
Breeding of the bird
Gray mallards winter in warmer climes. When flying to the winter, the birds keep in packs, the number of orders does not exceed 30-50 pieces, this distinguishes them from other species of migratory birds. However, they arrive at the place of flight, having already created pairs. Despite this, it happens that some drakes remain “bachelors” without finding their beloved. It is between such individuals that mass fights most often arise, so they fight for the attention of the females, leadership in the pack and the right to reproduce.
Those who created the pair start their mating games almost immediately upon arrival at the nesting place . There is a mass of entertaining videos and photos of mallards, which were filmed by duck observers, posted on the LiveJournal resource. It is worth saying that the representatives of this breed of the game are very diverse and entertaining. The male tries to attract the female’s attention in every possible way, while dancing in the water, spectacularly lowering his beak into the water, then abruptly tipping his head back, practically doing a somersault through himself, the neck extends as much as possible, and the feathers are straightened so that the dimensions of the feathery are doubled. Mallard breeding occurs naturally, like any other bird, be it wild or domestic.
How the nesting takes place
The couple chooses the place where the nest will be located, while the Mallard drake is responsible for physical labor, that is, it brings material for construction. Nests are usually broken near a water source, it can be either a river or puddles formed after spring snowmelt. By the time the chicks are born, often the water is gone and they hatch in the grass or under the trees. It also happens that nesting occurs high from the ground:
- on trees;
- s hollow of old trees.
Chicks usually hatch in spring ( although in autumn mallards can also produce offspring), while individuals mate only in water. If nesting occurs in the natural environment, then the eggs hatch in the nests. If the bird is kept at home in an artificial pond, boxes with warm litter of hay are suitable for this, improving the content of mallard. This is a kind of home incubation. Wild duck mallard lays one egg per day and sits on them only when their number is more than 5.
In order to keep eggs warm and protect from destruction, female mallards use fluff that the duck-laying stage drops out of the breast. It is noteworthy that wild duck eggs are food for many animals living near water, no more than 60% of the total number survives from masonry. Such fluff is also called nesting. Chicks are growing fast.Here is the weight gain chart in the table, from which it will be seen how many chicks are gaining at a particular age:
|Age of the chick||Weight of mallard chicks|
|10 days||100 g|
|20 days||not less than 250 g|
|1 month||500-600 g|
|50 days||700 and above – chicks can already take off for a short time|
|2 months||weight over 1.2 kg, mallard ducklings fly perfectly by this time|
After common mallard begins to hatch itz, drakes, as “true men” do not interfere in the process and fly away. At this time, they molt, the appearance changes. They choose places near water with dense vegetation, because the goal is to remain inaccessible to the enemy at a time when they are temporarily unable to fly. This period in the life of birds takes about a month, at the end of its plumage it is restored, and the ducks are ready to fly again in the winter, but in the spring they will certainly come back.
As for the females that remained in the nests, the molting process occurs same time, but they don’t fly anywhere. The molting time in females does not last so long, taking only 2-3 weeks.
Like a mallard caring for feathers
As already mentioned, an ordinary mallard is a waterfowl, therefore, its feather structure is special in order to protect the skin from getting wet. Every morning for a duck begins the same way – with a swim in a pond, like a morning shower for every person. The exercise begins with dipping the head, then the whole body is washed.
Why do not the feathers get wet? The fact is that the mallard duck processes each of them with fat, which is constantly produced by the fat gland hidden at the base of the tail. Due to the fact that the duck representative greases the feathers with grease, they do not get wet, and also always remain elastic.
In general, being in the water and swimming for birds is an essential part of their life. If the mallard got into the water, then it will be here for a long time, carefully washing each feather. Water procedures necessarily end with the drying of the feathers. It always looks spectacular, because the bird spreads its wings and tail, showing all the beauty of the color. Typically, such procedures take a lot of energy, so they end in rest: the duck lays on a warm, dry place, puts his head under one wing.
If the plans are to breed mallard ducks at home, care must be taken to ensure that it can perform the same manipulations with feathers and bathing, it is vital for her comfort.