Sisters Country birds


Last updated 6/6/2023 at 2:18pm

Photo by Douglas Beall

A familiar site on lakes, marshes, ponds, and rivers, the Mallard [Anas platyrhynchos], with its glossy green head and orange feet, is a stunning duck. Mallards are dabblers, feeding on invertebrates, fish, and insects. They molt twice a year and regrow their waterproof feathers. They are known for flying in a V formation, cruising at 55 mph, and alternating the front leaders to maintain the flock's stamina.

The hen Mallard builds a mostly grass and twig nest, lined with their breast feathers, and lays up to 12 creamy greenish-buff eggs. Incubation lasts 23-30 days and the ducklings leave the nest in 16 hours. All domestic ducks owe their ancestry to the Mallards, and the oldest Mallard was known to have lived for 27 years.

Groups of ducks are referred to as a "raft," a "paddling," a "flush," a "badling," a "twack," or a "sord." For more Mallard images, visit


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