By: Pat Coate
Based on how common mallards are, I think birders (me included) take them a bit for granted. But they are really quite beautiful birds, the male in particular displaying an impressive palette of colors.
Field marks for the male include:
• Shiny green head
• Bright yellow bill with black mark on tip
• Brown breast
• White ring around neck
• Silver on sides
• Blue speculum patch on wing (not always visible)
• Black and white in rear with a black tail curl
• Bright orange feet
All these field marks can be seen in the above or following pictures.
Preening and bathing views.
These widespread dabbling ducks can be found pretty much wherever there is water. When you hear mallards quacking (always reminds me of the Penguin from the old Batman TV show), it is coming from the female not the male.
View of the tail curl.
Not sure what’s up with the white eye. Ducks have three eyelids – not sure if this is one of them or it is something else. Note also that the blue speculum is not visible in this photo.
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