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British Birds: Straight From The Egg: Mallard Ducklings

Updated on August 23, 2016

Duck pictures

Female Mallard Duck with Ducklings
Female Mallard Duck with Ducklings | Source

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

Female mallard and duckling on fine art canvas.
Female mallard and duckling on fine art canvas. | Source

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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Copyright Notice

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

Female mallard duck with ducklings
Female mallard duck with ducklings | Source

Mallard Information

Did you know?:

  1. Mallard ducks mate on water.
  2. After mating the male will fight to keep other males away from the female until she lays eggs.
  3. A female's eggs can be fertilized by more than one male.
  4. Mallards will have more than one partner - you can read about it in my Birds Behaving Badly article on Hubpages.
  5. After that, the male's role is over.
  6. Only the female builds and sits on the nest.
  7. The mottled brown of the female gives them excellent camoflague when nesting.
  8. A mallard will build her nest deep in bush or brambles and well out of sight.
  9. 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

Duckling pictures

Mallard Ducklings
Mallard Ducklings | Source

Mallard Duckling Information

 Did you know?

  1. There could be up to 17 ducklings in one brood.
  2. Ducklings are born able to feed themselves.
  3. They leave the nest immediately with their mother.
  4. They need to get to water and grass to feed.
  5. There is a very high mortality rate among mallard ducklings.
  6. Predators include, other male mallard ducks, pike, foxes, heron, mink.
  7. They are not water-proof until their feathers grow in.
  8. They learn to dive under water to get out of trouble.

Books on Mallard Ducks

Mallard Ducks

 Order: Anseriformes

Family: Anatidae

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.

Bird pictures

Female mallard duck with ducklings
Female mallard duck with ducklings | Source
One day old Mallard ducklings
One day old Mallard ducklings | Source
Mother mallard with duckling
Mother mallard with duckling | Source
Female mallard takes a stretch - with duckling
Female mallard takes a stretch - with duckling | Source
Mother mallard and babies
Mother mallard and babies | Source
Day old mallard ducklings
Day old mallard ducklings | Source
Mallard ducks and duckling 'Time for bed'
Mallard ducks and duckling 'Time for bed' | Source
Mallard duck 'Evening on the canal'.
Mallard duck 'Evening on the canal'. | Source
Pretty little mallard duckling
Pretty little mallard duckling | Source

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

Are they cute or what? Leave a note when you visit.

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    • laweigle profile image

      laweigle 5 years ago

      this is so adorable!

    • profile image

      Tihi 5 years ago

      Beautiful pics!

    • DaisyChain profile image

      DaisyChain 6 years ago from France

      I hatch out chicks and goslings and just love the moment they emerge from the eggs, they're just so cute. I love your photos of these ducklings.

    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 6 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      oh what lovely comments - thank you so much they really are appreciated

    • profile image

      Lee Walls 6 years ago

      Hello Ann:

      I follow your Hubs. I don't live in an area where I can actually see the beauty you do. The reason why I love what you write is because you give me nature which I lack in a big city.

      Thanks for sharing with all of us. You have a gift in front of and behind your lens.

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Great information and format. Very useful. I am from New England and we have a lot of ducks here! Feeding them bread is an old pastime! Great Hub!


    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 6 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      they actually stay with the mother until they are full grown. One batch I watched last year actually stayed as a unit for several months, but I don't know what the books say.

    • FishAreFriends profile image

      FishAreFriends 6 years ago from Colorado

      I actually have a question, when are the ducklings old enough to leave their mother and become independent? Thanks!

    • FishAreFriends profile image

      FishAreFriends 6 years ago from Colorado

      That's actually really cool, I love the pictures!

    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 6 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      I am Laura thanks for visiting

    • Laura du Toit profile image

      Laura du Toit 6 years ago from South Africa

      They are adorable and you are very priveleged to have been there to take these beautiful photographs!