Female Mallard by stuart46

Female Mallard

While male mallards, with their lustrous green heads, white neck collars, and chestnut breast feathers, are instantly identifiable to bird experts and nonexperts alike, the same cannot be said for female mallards. From a distance, females may be easily confused with several other large pale brown ducks.Here we take an in-depth look at female mallards, with a guide to their nesting, feeding, and breeding habits, so you can become an expert at identifying the species, even from way across a lake or pond. In winter and spring, telling a male mallard from a female is simple. Male mallards are one of the most recognizable duck breeds in the world. They are easily identified, with an iridescent green head, pale gray body, black curled tail feathers, chestnut breast, and thin white collar around their necks. In contrast, female mallards are rather more nondescript, with mottled brown feathers all over, darker lined markings around the eyes, and pale whitish tail feathers. Both males and females have a flash of violet-blue feathers on each wing, tipped with black and white bands. Each year, in later summer, male mallards undergo a temporary change of plumage, known as an ‘eclipse molt’. They lose their bright feathers and adopt a far more subdued appearance, with a mottled green head that later turns fully brown. This process allows them to blend into their surroundings and keep themselves safe from predators. Female mallards are a mottled brown, with darker brown feathers on their heads. They have a violet-blue wing flash (known as a “speculum”) tipped with black and white bars. Their underparts are paler, and their tail feathers are white.

Female mallards have orange-red legs and feet. Their bills are a brownish-orange shade, marked with black splodges.
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