Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Steven L. Hamilton
Photo Copyright Steven L. Hamilton

The mallard, Anas platyrhynchos, is a dabbling duck that breeds throughout much of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Northern populations migrate south for the winter; most wintering areas are south of southern Canada. The mallard is a common breeder in Utah, and it can be found statewide throughout the year.

Mallards prefer wetlands and fields near wetlands, generally nesting on land close to water in standing crops or other vegetation. In addition, they are well adapted to areas with human disturbance, such as city parks and ponds. Females typically lay five to fourteen eggs; the eggs are incubated by the female alone for about one month. The young are able to fly about two months after hatching.

Mallards are opportunistic feeders that consume grains, aquatic plants, seeds, terrestrial insects, aquatic invertebrates, and small fishes. The female is a drab brown color, which enables her to hide from predators. The male, on the other hand, is more brightly colored, with a green head and a white ring around the neck. Mallards are extremely popular with waterfowl hunters, likely being the most commonly pursued duck species in Utah.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.