British Birds: Straight From The Egg: Mallard Ducklings
Mallard ducklings on Bingley Canal
Here you will find some wonderful photos of new mallard chicks along Bingley canal. Birding is easy along the Leeds to Liverpool and is especially sweet when the first mallard ducklings appear. This pretty female was proud to display her five very new ducklings, straight from the egg to display in this photo journal by wildlife photographer AnnMackieMiller.
I think because they are so common, mallards are often overlooked but are really rather beautiful birds. Add the cuteness factor of the baby birds and the artistic effect of water backgrounds, and you have a really nice photo journal to share with friends.
These babies are only one day old - they are taken from the nest to water on their first day after hatching. They are able to feed themselves but they will need Mama's protection for some time yet.
Duck pictures by AnnMackieMiller
Mother Mallard Duck
This pretty mallard female produced five ducklings. As with all mallard ducks, her nest was completely hidden from view so the appearance of the ducklings is the first time she is known to have laid. This particular female, has two distinctive 'mascara' lines on her face.
At the moment she is the only female mallard on this part of the canal and is being plagued by bachelor males. Mallard males will harry females to mate whether they have ducklings or not. Unfortunately if they do successfully mate with her and she is ready to lay another clutch of eggs, the earlier chicks will be abandoned.
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All the images used here are by AnnMackieMiller and are copyright 2011.
They are in low resolution to prevent theft. However, high resolution, electronic copies are available for sale for use on blogs and webpages. Not to be used on photo gifts or cards, those can be found in my zazzle stores.
Contact Ann for details.
Birds on Bright Water
Did you know?:
- Mallard ducks mate on water.
- After mating the male will fight to keep other males away from the female until she lays eggs.
- A female's eggs can be fertilized by more than one male.
- Mallards will have more than one partner - you can read about it in my Birds Behaving Badly article on Hubpages.
- After that, the male's role is over.
- Only the female builds and sits on the nest.
- The mottled brown of the female gives them excellent camoflague when nesting.
- A mallard will build her nest deep in bush or brambles and well out of sight.
- They often nest far from their usual feeding areas, even miles away from water and they then have to lead the ducklings to water once they have hatched.
Banker saves chicks
Mallard Duckling Information
Did you know?
- There could be up to 17 ducklings in one brood.
- Ducklings are born able to feed themselves.
- They leave the nest immediately with their mother.
- They need to get to water and grass to feed.
- There is a very high mortality rate among mallard ducklings.
- Predators include, other male mallard ducks, pike, foxes, heron, mink.
- They are not water-proof until their feathers grow in.
- They learn to dive under water to get out of trouble.
Books on Mallard Ducks
Specis: Anas platyrhynchos
Common name: Mallard
Common bird found in parks and garden ponds, rivers, canals, lakes and reservoirs. They eat acquatic plant life, grass and seeds.
The male has an irridescent head of green and purple with a white neck ring. His body is mostly grey with a brown breast and with blue or purple flashes on his wings. He has distinctive upturned curling tail feathers. When they moult they look much like the females and they become flight-less.
The female although described as mottled brown is actually a very attractive bird coloured in browns and oranges. Commonly they have a black eye stripe and an orange eyebrow. They also have blue/purple flashes on the wings but less obvious than the male.
Using water as a background
I think one of the reasons I am so fond of wildfowl is that I photograph them with the background of water. It is ever changing - it reflects what is around it in wonderfully mood-changing ways.
This has inspired a collection of photography entitled Birds on Bright Water. The video is a very short example of the photo collection. I'm working my way through thousands of photos and trying out dozens of video makers to find the best fit.
Tell me what you think?
Birds on Bright Water
Where to find more information on mallard ducks
- Mallard, Identification, All About Birds - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Learn how to identify Mallard, its life history, cool facts, sounds and calls, and watch videos. If someone at a park is feeding bread to ducks, chances are there are Mallards in the fray.
- Mallard Ducks, Mallard Duck Pictures, Mallard Duck Facts - National Geographic
Learn all you wanted to know about mallard ducks with pictures, videos, photos, facts, and news from National Geographic.
- The RSPB: Mallard
The mallard is a large and heavy looking duck. It has a long body and a long and broad bill.