The Mallard is a medium sized, dabbling duck with the distinctive males having a glossy green head and neck, a white collar and a chestnut breast. The body is grey-brown and the wings have a blue-violet wing patch within thin white bars. The bill is yellow and the legs and webbed feet are orange. Females are smaller and are mottled and streaked dusky brown. Juveniles are similar to females.
The Mallard's natural range is across the Northern Hemisphere from the Holarctic region to Hawaii, wintering in southern areas such as the sub-tropics of America and south-east Asia. The Mallard was introduced to Australia as early as 1862, with a rapid range expansion during the 1950's, and populations in suitable habitat areas are still increasing.
The Mallard Duck can live for 5 - 10 years out in the wild.
The Mallard Duck is approximately 50 - 70 centimetres in length and weighs around 500 grams.
The Mallard Duck feeds mainly on aquatic vegetation, but will also eat insects.
The Mallard Duck prefers habitats that have similar seasonal conditions to its original range in the Northern Hemisphere. These habitats include wetlands, grasslands and crops, as well as sheltered estuaries and marine habitats.
Mallard Ducks pair up only during breeding season (July - December), with the male briefly defending a small territory and guarding the female before egg-laying and during the early incubation period. However, after about five days, he abandons the female and the territory, leaving her to complete incubation and to feed and raise the ducklings. The nest is a grass bowl lined with down and well-hidden on the ground or in a hole. The female will produce around 12 eggs and will incubate the eggs for approximately 28 days.