Bird of the Week: Mallard


Mallard. Photo by Pete Arnold.

The colorful drake is the most recognizable, widely distributed, abundant and hunted duck in North America. However, it’s the brown hen that quacks. After a month of waiting for new wing feathers to grow in, it is fall and time to pair up. Many flocks, like those in Cheyenne city parks, do not migrate. All domestic ducks, except the Muscovy, are descendants of wild mallards. Domestication began 800 (Europe) and 2000 (southeast Asia) years ago. Mallards often hybridize with domestics and other wild ducks.

Published Oct. 8, 2008, in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Text by Barb Gorges, photo by Pete Arnold.