Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Admission: $11 Adults, $6 Child
Throughout Europe Asia, and
Ponds, lakes and marshes
Diet in the Wild:
Aquatic plants, insects and mollusks
Diet at the Zoo:
up to 29 years in captivity
Mallards are about 23 inches long and 2 to 3 pounds. In the summer, male mallard ducks have a distinctive green head with a white neck ring, while females are of a duller brown plumage with black markings. They are relatively similar in the fall and winter. Both genders have a bright blue patch on their wings, known as a speculum. The specula are more visible in flight.
Mallards tend to nest close to water and they dabble for food in an upended position. Their feet are webbed which aids in paddling and their bills have a sharp “nail” on the tip that is used to graze grass and pick up small prey. The mallard can also filter tiny animals from the water by means of the comb-like membranes, known as lamellae, that line the inside of its bill.
Groups of male mallards chase and display to females all winter long, especially in February and March. Once a drake has attracted a female, he stays at her side to prevent mating from other males. After laying a clutch of 8 to 11 eggs, the drake takes no part in rearing the young. Incubation is about 25 days, and the ducklings follow their mother immediately on land and water.
Mallard ducks are at a lower risk.