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Mallard Ducklings

Mallard Ducklings
Photo Information
Copyright: Hilary Wilkinson (Hil) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 696 W: 13 N: 1407] (5035)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-05-09
Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Nature's cutest [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-05-13 14:46
Viewed: 4957
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 52
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Mallard Ducklings

Hello Everyone, I took this shot on my local Park this week, do you notice the one in the middle is bigger than the rest

The Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), also known as the wild duck, is a dabbling duck which breeds throughout the temperate and sub-tropical areas of North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Probably the best-known of all ducks, it gave rise to most domestic ducks, apart from the Muscovy Duck. Mallards also look like Call Ducks, but are larger in size.

It is strongly migratory in the northern parts of its breeding range, and winters farther south; it is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. It also frequents Central America and the Caribbean, and has been introduced into Australia and New Zealand. It is now the most common duck in New Zealand.

In captivity, Mallards come in wild-type plumages, white, and other colours. Most of these colour variants are rare but increasing in domestic collections.


The dabbling duck is 56–65 cm length, with an 81–98 cm wingspan, and weighs 750–1000 g. The breeding male is unmistakable with a green head, black rear end and a blue speculum edged with white, prominent in flight or at rest. Males also possess a yellow bill with a black tip, females dark brown.

The female Mallard is light brown like most female dabbling ducks. It can be distinguished from other ducks by the distinctive speculum. In non-breeding (eclipse) plumage, the drake looks more like the female.

The Mallard is a rare example of both Allen's Rule and Bergmann's Rule in birds. Bergmann's Rule, which states that polar forms tend to be larger than related ones from warmer climates, has numerous examples in birds. Allen's Rule says that appendages like ears tend to be smaller in polar forms to minimize heat loss, and larger in tropical and desert equivalents to facilitate heat diffusion, and that the polar taxa are stockier overall. Examples of this rule in birds are rare, as they lack external ears. However, the bill of ducks is very well supplied with blood vessels and is vulnerable to cold.

The size of the Mallard varies clinally, and birds from Greenland, although larger than birds further south, have smaller bills and are stockier. It is sometimes separated as subspecies Greenland Mallard (A. p. conboschas).

The Mallard inhabits most wetlands, including parks, small ponds and rivers, and usually feeds by dabbling for plant food or grazing; there are reports of it eating frogs. It usually nests on a river bank, but not always near water. It is highly gregarious outside of the breeding season and will form large flocks.

A noisy species, the male has a nasal call, the female the "quack" always associated with ducks. (Rogers 2001)

Breeding behaviour

Mallards form pairs only until the female lays eggs, at which time she is left by the male. The clutch is 8–13 eggs, which are incubated for 27–28 days to hatching with 50–60 days to fledging. The ducklings are precocial, and can swim and feed themselves on insects as soon as they hatch, although they stay near the female for protection. Young ducklings are not naturally waterproof and rely on the mother to provide waterproofing. Mallards also have rates of male-male sexual activity that are unusually high for birds. In some cases, as many as 19% of pairs in a Mallard population are male-male homosexual (Bagemihl 1999).

When they pair off with mating partners, often one or several drakes will end up "left out". This group will sometimes target an isolated female duck — chasing, pestering and pecking at her until she weakens (a phenomenon referred to by researchers as rape flight), at which point each male will take turns copulating with the female. Male Mallards will also occasionally chase other males in the same way. (In one documented case, a male Mallard copulated with another male he was chasing after it had been killed when it flew into a glass window.

Notes from Wilkipedia.com

nglen, uleko, Marx44, JoseMiguel, vanderschelden, Jamesp, Necipp, fartash, NellyD, Juyona, JORAPAVI, thistle, SkyF, ramthakur, glazzaro, jeanpaul, mikou, hester has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-05-13 14:53]

Hi Hilary. You have got baby ducks as well. very good colours and detail . with nice refections in the water. and a good compostion. great note to. well done.Nick..

It added nice ducks, t a bit colours they would improve. I in workshop shew about what me it walks

Hi Hilary,
So cute image!
It's very good this group of chicks just begining to swim.
You had a very appropiate control over the exposure settings, to get this clear detials.
I like the wide composition made to fit into all this little ducks.
Congratulations and thanks for share it.
My best regards,

Hi Hill,
What a race....:-)
Good photograph through its sharpness, composition, colours, etc.

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2007-05-13 15:49]

Hi Hilary

Very cute shot. Good composition and detail. Great reflections and good note.


Nice work Hil you got a beautifully sharp shot with good light and nice POV and such cuties tfs rgds necip.

Hello Hill
What a great reflection here,
Perfect sharpness and lighting,
Very nice composition and framing,
Informative note,Superb shot,friend.

Good Luck

Hi Hilary,
Great shot of these cuties! Beautiful natural color and great shot of the water movement. Sharp focus. TFS

  • Great 
  • NellyD Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 237 W: 0 N: 445] (1783)
  • [2007-05-13 17:28]

Hi Hilary,

Wow, what a cute bunch of ducklings :-)
They look very sweet and I like this capture.
Sharpness, details and colours look great.
It's a pleasure to look at, I' m making this a favorite so I can look at them more often, thanks for sharing!

Greetings, Nel

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2007-05-13 18:25]

Hola Hil,
they pursue you??
magnífica y simpática imagen... saludos

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-05-14 3:50]

Hi Hilary,
These are sooo cute and really well captured here. Very sharp details and good natural colours. I like their reflections in the grey water. Nice DOF and a very nice composition!
TFS and regards, Ulla

Hola Hilary,
Encantadora y tierna imagen, bonita iluminación y reflejos sobre el agua. Saludos
José Ramón

Aren't they cute Hill? What a nice seasonal capture with good lightning, POV, compo and details. They are lovely birds! Well done and TFS,

Hello Hilary,
It's a lovely picture. The details are very good, POV as well and the composition is really nicely balanced. The bits of blue in the water are a nice touch of colour too.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-05-14 7:26]

Hi Hilary

They look so cute!!!
Look at all of them. They are really adorable and from this POV their are taken so well!
The details here an all of them are terrific, the DOF is great and the colors are lovely.

Bravo and TFS

Belle composition de tous ces petits poussins à la nage.

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2007-05-14 11:25]

Hello Hil, what a beauty very nice capture of this family, very good collors and the details are great, fine capture ...Well done..

Hi, Hilary.
Very nice shot. Lovely compositions and so cute ducklings. Sharp. Good light.

What a healthy brood of ducklings, Hilary!
I'm sure mama duck ought to be in the vicinity.
You have captured this lovely lot in an interesting formation. I like the way they are making waves.
Great shot!
Thanks and take care.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-05-14 23:23]

Hello Hil

These guys are so cute.Excellent focus and details.The eye contact and catch light is super times 7.I like the reflections and texture of the water surface.Nicely composed.TFS


A good looking brood, you can't help but smile when looking at ducklings, they are just so darn cute! ;) Good detail and exposure, well done.


  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2007-05-15 9:01]

Hi Hilary,
they are very cute,
interesting to see that one of them is larger than the others, must be a good eater ;-).
Verry well captured, nice reflections on th water also.
POV, details and sharpness are wonderful.

Salut Hilary
Très bien réussie cette prise de vue en mettant le focus ces bébés canard les couleurs et les détails et l'on pet constater le point dans leur regard..
Merci et passe une bonne semaine....JP

  • Great 
  • mikou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 869 W: 68 N: 1479] (6093)
  • [2007-05-23 10:34]

Hi Hilary.
I I don't know why I missed this your lovely shot.
Beautiful caught this scene with very good details on this cute little ducks.I like very nice colors and very good lighting.Great focus and DOF.And their reflection in water is bonus in this lovely picture.Well done,I like it so much.
Thanks,with greeting Milos.

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2007-05-25 16:21]

ahhhh they are lovely. Lovely shot Hilary of this family. Nice light, composition and details...and very cute



Hi Hil
Vary cute shot of the little guys. I really like the reflection in the water.
Great shot.

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