Remarkably adaptable to civilization, the mallard—the most common duck in the world—will nest in a city park if there is even a small pond. It usually nests near the water’s edge, but occasionally chooses a site on higher ground.


Mallard, male
Mallard, female with ducklings


cpwestfall Mallard, male

Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos.
Family: Duck.
Length: 23 inches.
Wingspan: 35 inches.
Distinctive Markings: Male has bright-green head, yellow bill and white collar. Female has plain brown plumage with an orange bill. Both have a blue wing patch with white borders, most obvious in flight.
Nest: Built on the ground among dead grasses or reeds, often close to water, , the nest accommodates up to 13 light-colored eggs.
Voice: Female gives a loud, quacking call. Male gives a short, rasping “quehp.”
Habitat: Open shallow, fresh water, surrounded by grassy fields and woodlands.
Diet: Seeds and aquatic insects and plants.
Backyard Favorites: Hedges and shrubs, near water, under which to nest.

Bird Song & Range Map

Listen to the Mallard’s song and learn where to spot them!

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Mallard Bird SpeciesRange maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.

Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.