|Copyright: Charles Neill (charlieneill) (2)|
|Date Taken: 2009-10-19|
|Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2009-10-21 6:21|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|The Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), probably the best-known and most recognizable of all ducks, is a dabbling duck which breeds throughout the temperate and sub-tropical areas of North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, New Zealand (where it is currently the most common duck species), and Australia. It is strongly migratory in the northern parts of its breeding range, and winters farther south. For example, in North America it winters south to Mexico, but also regularly strays into Central America and the Caribbean between September and May.|
The Mallard is 56–65 cm long, has a wingspan of 81–98 cm, and weighs 0.9–1.2 kg. The breeding male is unmistakable, with a green head, black rear end and a yellowish orange (can also contain some red) bill tipped with black (as opposed to the dark brown bill in females). The female Mallard is light brown, like most female dabbling ducks. However, both the female and male Mallards have distinct purple speculum edged with white, prominent in flight or at rest (though temporarily shedded during the annual summer molt). In non-breeding (eclipse) plumage the drake becomes drab, looking more like the female, but still distinguishable by its yellow bill and reddish breast.
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