Wednesday, January 21, 2015

100 Species to Know by Sight - #9 Mallard Duck

It's time to add to my list of species that every kid (and adult) in Mid-Michigan should be able to identify.  The list so far includes:

     #1  Wood Frog
     #2  White-tailed Deer
     #3  Large-flowered Trillium
     #4  Black-eyed Susan
     #5  Skunk Cabbage
     #6  Monarch Butterfly
     #7  Viceroy Butterfly
     #8  Fox Squirrel

Species #9 is the first bird on the the list - the Mallard Duck (Anas platyrhynchos).  In Mid-Michign when most people think of a duck this is the species that come to their mind.  The Mallard drake (male) is one of the most easily recognized birds in North America.  It is characterized by a shining green head, bright yellow bill, chocolate brown breast, grey body, black rump and white tail.

Compared to the male, the hen (female) is rather plain looking - she has speckled brown feathers covering her entire body, a dull orange and brown bill, and a patch of dark blue on her wings.

Drake and hen Mallard - the drake shows his distinctive green head and yellow bill

Mallard Hen

Mallard hen - note her mottled brown and tan color and dull orange-brown bill

Mallard hen - note the dark blue patch on her wings

Mallard drake - showing all of his distinguishing marks

For more information on the Mallard check out this species profile on

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