Image: fws.gov (public domain)
Description: The Mallard is probably the most recognized duck in America. Measuring about 18 inches in length, the drake (male) has an iridescent green head and bright yellow bill. It has a white ring around the neck, maroon breast, and gray body. The legs are bright orange. The male mallard also has a black tail with two feathers curls that extend from the top, which are visible at close range. In flight, both the male and female show blue speculums (wing feathers). Female mallards are entirely mottled brown.
Diet: Insects, seeds, invertebrates, acorns, acquatic vegetation. Mallards, like most dabbling ducks, tip upside-down in the water in search of food.
Range: The Mallard breeds throughout Canada and the northern two-thirds of the United States. In winter, it is found throughout the lower 48 states and northern Mexico.
Habitat: Lakes, ponds, marshes, rivers, streams.
Status: The Mallard is probably America’s most common duck.