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Nov 28

[75][76], Egg clutches number 8–13 creamy white to greenish-buff eggs free of speckles. Download preview. A. p. conboschas C. L. Brehm, 1831 (disputed). Protected by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. [19] The Aleutian Islands hold a population of mallards that appear to be evolving towards a subspecies, as gene flow with other populations is very limited. There, and elsewhere, mallards are spreading with increasing urbanisation and hybridising with local relatives. The mallard was one of the many bird species originally described in the 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae by Carl Linnaeus. A subspecies of the Mallard called the “Mexican Duck,” Anas platyrhynchos diazi, occurs in parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico. [99] They are a common sight in urban parks, lakes, ponds, and other human-made water features in the regions they inhabit, and are often tolerated or encouraged in human habitat due to their placid nature towards humans and their beautiful and iridescent colours. [9] Masle (male) has also been proposed as an influence. [70] It usually nests on a river bank, but not always near water. [6], The name Mallard originally referred to any wild drake, and it is sometimes still used this way. This is because it has a large range–more than 20,000,000 km2 (7,700,000 mi2)[97]–and because its population is increasing, rather than declining by 30% over ten years or three generations and thus is not warranted a vulnerable rating. Almost all domestic duck breeds derive from the mallard, with the exception of a few Muscovy breeds. Download preview. The ducklings are precocial and fully capable of swimming as soon as they hatch. Mallard (male) Mallard (female) Mallard (male) Scientific name: Anas platyrhynchos. [135] It does not need to be hung before preparation, and is often braised or roasted, sometimes flavoured with bitter orange or with port. [105] Hybrid offspring of Hawaiian ducks seem to be less well adapted to native habitat, and using them in re-introduction projects apparently reduces success. Mute swans (Cygnus olor) have been known to attack or even kill mallards if they feel that the ducks pose a threat to their offspring. [95], The predation-avoidance behaviour of sleeping with one eye open, allowing one brain hemisphere to remain aware while the other half sleeps, was first demonstrated in mallards, although it is believed to be widespread among birds in general. [37] In addition, females hiss if the nest or offspring are threatened or interfered with. The non-migratory mallard interbreeds with indigenous wild ducks of closely related species through genetic pollution by producing fertile offspring. [28] As it nears a month in age, the duckling's plumage starts becoming drab, looking more like the female, though more streaked, and its legs lose their dark grey colouring. [15], Also, the paucity of morphological differences between the Old World mallards and the New World mallard demonstrates the extent to which the genome is shared among them such that birds like the Chinese spot-billed duck are highly similar to the Old World mallard, and birds such as the Hawaiian duck are highly similar to the New World mallard. [117], The mallard is considered an invasive species in New Zealand,[22]:505 where it competes with the local New Zealand grey duck, which was overhunted in the past. Mallards are territorial during much of this period, but once incubation is well underway, males abandon the nest and join a flock of other males. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. [13], Genetic analysis has shown that certain mallards appear to be closer to their Indo-Pacific relatives while others are related to their American relatives. There are webbing among the toes, but rarely scuba diving. [94] Also, mallards may be attacked by larger anseriformes such as swans (Cygnus spp.) [24], The breeding male mallard is unmistakable, with a glossy bottle-green head and a white collar that demarcates the head from the purple-tinged brown breast, grey-brown wings, and a pale grey belly. [115] The mallard duck can cross breed with 63 other species, posing a severe threat to indigenous waterfowl's genetic integrity. This duck belongs to the subfamily Anatinae of the waterfowl family Anatidae. [126] They were first domesticated in Southeast Asia at least 4,000 years ago, during the Neolithic Age, and were also farmed by the Romans in Europe, and the Malays in Asia. Unlike many waterfowl, mallards are considered an invasive species in some regions. For example, in the United Kingdom, the mallard is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which restricts certain hunting methods or taking or killing mallards. [33] The female gadwall (Mareca strepera) has an orange-lined bill, white belly, black and white speculum that is seen as a white square on the wings in flight, and is a smaller bird. He gave it two binomial names: Anas platyrhynchos and Anas boschas. When incubating a nest, or when offspring are present, females vocalise differently, making a call that sounds like a truncated version of the usual quack. Feeding ducks like the mallard is a popular pastime and, for many, a first introduction to the UK's wonderful wildlife. [12] Mallards and their domesticated conspecifics are also fully interfertile. Mallard bones rather abruptly appear in food remains of ancient humans and other deposits of fossil bones in Europe, without a good candidate for a local predecessor species. [99][101] These non-migratory mallards interbreed with indigenous wild ducks from local populations of closely related species through genetic pollution by producing fertile offspring. [130], Mallards are one of the most common varieties of ducks hunted as a sport due to the large population size. [31] The adulthood age for mallards is fourteen months, and the average life expectancy is three years, but they can live to twenty. [16], Mallards are differentiated in their mitochondrial DNA between North American and Eurasian populations,[17] but the nuclear genome displays a notable lack of genetic structure. [90] The most prolific natural predators of adult mallards are red foxes (which most often pick off brooding females) and the faster or larger birds of prey, e.g. [3] The latter was generally preferred until 1906 when Einar Lönnberg established that A. platyrhynchos had priority, as it appeared on an earlier page in the text. This species is the main ancestor of most breeds of domesticated ducks. [65] During the breeding season, male birds were recorded to have eaten 37.6% animal matter and 62.4% plant matter, most notably the grass Echinochloa crus-galli, and nonlaying females ate 37.0% animal matter and 63.0% plant matter, while laying females ate 71.9% animal matter and only 28.1% plant matter. The male, or drake, is the more distinctively colored of the mallards. Domestic ducks have no territorial behaviour and are less aggressive than mallards. [103], The Eastern or Chinese spot-billed duck is currently introgressing into the mallard populations of the Primorsky Krai, possibly due to habitat changes from global warming. It is highly gregarious outside of the breeding season and forms large flocks, which are known as "sordes. [61] Its diet may vary based on several factors, including the stage of the breeding cycle, short-term variations in available food, nutrient availability, and interspecific and intraspecific competition. [103][111] In summary, the problems of mallards "hybridising away" relatives is more a consequence of local ducks declining than of mallards spreading; allopatric speciation and isolating behaviour have produced today's diversity of mallard-like ducks despite the fact that, in most, if not all, of these populations, hybridisation must have occurred to some extent. [8] It may be related to, or at least influenced by, an Old High German masculine proper name Madelhart, clues lying in the alternate English forms "maudelard" or "mawdelard". [15] The large Ice Age palaeosubspecies that made up at least the European and West Asian populations during the Pleistocene has been named Anas platyrhynchos palaeoboschas. [78] The eggs are laid on alternate days, and incubation begins when the clutch is almost complete. Complete hybridisation of various species of wild duck gene pools could result in the extinction of many indigenous waterfowl. The green head and yellow bill of the mallard duck is a familiar sight to many people living in the Northern hemisphere. [39] Bergmann's Rule, which states that polar forms tend to be larger than related ones from warmer climates, has numerous examples in birds,[40] as in case of the Greenland mallard which is larger than the mallards further south. [citation needed] However, filial imprinting compels them to instinctively stay near the mother, not only for warmth and protection but also to learn about and remember their habitat as well as how and where to forage for food. [112], Mallards are causing severe "genetic pollution" to South Africa's biodiversity by breeding with endemic ducks[113] even though the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds – an agreement to protect the local waterfowl populations – applies to the mallard as well as other ducks.

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