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Dieren en planten

Ducks   Shoveler   Teal   Shelduck   Mallard duck   Wigeon   Goldeneye   Eider   Swimming birds   

Water en land

Mallard duck


51-62 centimeters; 81-98 centimeters wingspan

color (adults):

male: shiny green head, white neck stripe, chestnut brown chest, curled black feathers on the tip of the tail, yellowish-orange bill
female: brown camouflage colors, dark bill
both sexes have blue-purple inner lower wing feathers


aquatic plants and animals, grain, bread


humans (hunting)

Dutch status:

nesting bird; seen year round, winter guest, migratory


water-rich areas, parks, ponds, rivers, ditches; nests in long grass or hollow trees


maturity: 1 year old
11-14 eggs
2-3 nests per year

life span:

3 years old (maximum known age: + 30 years)

  • Dut: Wilde Eend
  • Eng: Mallard
  • Fre: Canard colvert
  • Ger: Stockente
  • Ital: Germano reale
  • Lat: Anas platyrhynchos
Mallard, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

Mallard duck

You find the mallard ducks almost anywhere where there is calm shallow water. So it's not surprising to find them in the middle of cities. They feed mostly on plants and seeds but also animal matter in the water. In the cities, they eat mostly bread. The Netherlands has lots of mallard ducks. Some years, 400,000 mallards were estimated.

On Texel

Hundreds of mallard ducks nest on Texel. There are five duck decoys, one of which is still in operation: the Korverskooi located north of De Koog. Only mallards are killed in the decoy. Other species of ducks are also caught, but they are ringed and released again. If a Texelaar speaks of 'eendenkukeltjesweer' (literally: duckling weather), they mean mild sunny spring weather.

  • Noisy animals
    fighting Mallards, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Mallards are noisy birds. When asked to imitate a duck, most people say 'quack quack', which is what a female mallard says. Males make a more nasal sound, 'qwek' or rehb'. When ducks start looking for a partner, it can get quite violent. Males even try to drown one another in their fight for a female. During mating, the female is sometimes held underwater for a long period of time.

  • Duck decoys

    Mallard ducks are the only species of water fowl allowed to be hunted. Throughout the low lands, from Zeeland till Sleeswijk-Holstein, duck decoys have been designed for catching mallards. Groups of tame ducks live in these decoys, used by the decoy man for enticing mallards into the trapping pipe.

  • Distribution and habitat
    young Mallards, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Mallards are the most common duck in Europe. They are also found in North Americal and Asia. They live in ponds, marshes, lakes and ditchesand also nest in farmlands or pastures. Together with the muscovy duck, these species are believed to be the ancestor of all domestic ducks. They look for food in water, fields or on the mud flats.

  • Protection
    • Monitoring: Network Ecological Monitoring
    • Dutch legislation: Flora and Fauna Regulation
    • European Agreement: Bird Directive
    • International: Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), Bern Convention, Bonn Convention