MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos)
The mallard duck is a dabbler widespread in its natural habitat, including North America, Europe and Asia, and in many other regions where it was introduced as a game bird. It is common in PEI and a year-round resident. The sexes are very different, the drake (as seen below) displaying an iridescent green head with a narrow white band at the base of the neck, a brown breast and wings and a light grey underside. The legs and feet are orange. The female is mottled brown, as with several other duck species, which can be a challenge for identification, until the observer can see who it is associating with. Mallards have well adapted to the human environment and, where it was introduced, will interbreed with native duck species, which may threaten the survival of the native duck, for example in Hawaii with the Hawaiian duck.
The first four photos below show a family mallard resting on the Cavendish boardwalk at the PEI National Park, then getting up and going, and ending up in the water. Our group walked very slowly to minimally disturb them.