52.7 MB (4.7 MB compressed)
3471 x 5310 pixels
29.5 x 45.0 cm ⏐ 11.6 x 17.7 in (300dpi)
KENNETH H. THOMAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KENNETH H. THOMAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) nesting, Belchertown, MA. The mallard is the most common duck in North America. The male mallard has grayish or brownish feathers, a green-colored head, and a purple breast. The female is only brown and white and is smaller than the male. The mallard duck is found mostly in North America and Northern Central America. They nest under boulders, in tree holes, in the crotch of trees, or in open areas. They usually feed at the surface of the water, but just tip their heads under to feed. During the summer, mallards spend much time asleep on water banks. The mallard has only three defenses from large mammals - swimming, flying, and camouflage. Mallard mothers raise their babies by themselves. Danger lurks all around for the ducklings. Hawks, foxes, and other predators may snatch any baby that strays too far from the mother. The young quickly learn how to snatch water insects and eat bits of tender plants. One of their favorite waterplants is Duckweed (Spirodela polyhiza) a.k.a. Duck-meal or Giant Duckweed.
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