Natural Oakville - The Mallard Duck
The Mallard Duck compensates for it's abundance with it's great beauty and curious personality. Commonly found in waterbodies throughout the Oakville region, it's adaptability has made it the most commonly seen duck in the Halton region.
- Mallards are capable of interbreeding with 63 other species of ducks worldwide.
- It is found on 6 continents and is the most widespread duck in the world.
- Male Mallards, known as drakes, only have their bright green head during the breeding season. In the eclipse season, their plumage becomes a dull brown similar to the females. Female mallards are known as 'hens'.
- Male mallards can be distinguished during the non-breeding season by their yellowish bills. The females have a more brownish bill.
- During the non-breeding season, mallards form large flocks known as 'sords'.
- Mallards are known as 'dabblers' due to their feeding style.
Feeding mainly on plant food (although the young do feed on insects), they float on waterbodies and tip their bodies downwards where they can 'dabble' on the food to be found just below the surface.
- A Mallard pair stays together only until the female lays eggs. At that time she is left alone by the male.
- After laying up to 13 eggs, the female mallard incubates them until they hatch, approximately 28 days later.
- After hatching, young mallards are readily able to swim and feed on insects. They stay close to their mother for protection.
- Some mallards remain in the Halton/Oakville region throughout the winter, as long as there is open water.
The majority, however, can be seen in the Oakville and Burlington area beginning in February when they return from their southern wintering grounds.