If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title
- I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!
07 November, 2009
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
The Mallard can be found anywhere there is water (salt or fresh), anywhere in Britain (both inland and coastal) and any time of year (winter and summer) and so, if you see a duck it is, statistically speaking, most likely to be a Mallard. That is why it is important to know a Mallard well so that you can know for sure when you have seen a different species worth a closer look.
I chose this photo I took of a Mallard because it shows very clearly the blue feathers in the wing. This is important because male and female Mallards are different in plumage but they both have the blue in the wing. In late summer the male moults and loses its gorgeous metallic green/blue head but usually the blue in the wing is still visible. To add to the confusion the Mallard inter breed with some forms of domestic duck and and all sorts of hybrids may be encountered but, even so, quite often the blue in the wing remains as clear indicator that you are looking at a form of Mallard.
There are other features too that identify a Mallard, one of which is their classic duck 'quack, quack, quack' call. The whitish flanks under the wing are quite clear, especially when in flight and so too is the white in the tail.
Get to know your Mallard well, then you will know when you are looking at a duck that is not!