New Zealand Status: Introduced
Conservation Status: Naturalised
Anas platyrhynchos are large ducks with hefty bodies. They have rounded heads and wide, flat bills. The body is long and the tail rides high out of the water. When in flight their wings are broad and swept back toward the rear. Male Mallards have a dark, iridescent-green head and yellow bill. Their body grey with a brown breast and black rear. Females and juveniles are mottled brown with orange-and-brown bills. Both genders have a blue speculum (patch in the wing) with a white border.
Mallards feed on the water surface by dabbling, tipping forward and grazing on underwater plants. They seldom dive. They can be very tame ducks especially in city ponds, where they are used to the presence of humans, and they often group together with other Mallards and other species of dabbling ducks.
Mallards can be found in almost any wetland habitat, natural or artificial, including swamps, bogs, river floodplains, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, city parks, farms, and coastal estuaries.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader