Mallards always on the alert

NATURAL WORLD

PAUL GAY
Last updated 14:58 28/01/2014
Ducks

 

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When disturbed by a passing vehicle, this mallard duck swam quickly to the far side of a water canal, positioned herself against a bank where she remained motionless as her ducklings responded to the supposed danger and gathered around, a little confused at the turn of events.

Mallards are great mothers and are always alert to any signs of danger.

At the sound of her warning call her ducklings will usually crouch under or near any available cover and hope not to be seen. There they will remain until the all clear is given. Being on the water, these ducklings had nowhere to hide.

The mallard is said to be the ancestor of most duck breeds.

They are the most common duck worldwide, are found in parks and in the wild. In some countries they are domesticated.

They are often abundant in city and suburban areas and will often choose a nest site in home gardens and frequently right alongside buildings.

Mallard drakes usually choose their mates long before the spring nesting season. Only the female incubates the eggs and when the ducklings hatch the drake usually departs, leaving the duck to care for the brood.

In good conditions and the absence of predators these ducklings could have a long life expectancy, with the oldest recorded mallard living for 27 years.

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- The Southland Times

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