Anas platyrhynchos - Linnaeus, 1758
Mallard
Other English Common Names: mallard
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Anas platyrhynchos Linnaeus, 1758 (TSN 175063)
French Common Names: canard colvert
Spanish Common Names: Pato de Collar
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105213
Element Code: ABNJB10060
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Waterfowl
Image 7633

© Larry Master

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Anseriformes Anatidae Anas
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Anas platyrhynchos
Taxonomic Comments: Includes diazi group, formerly regarded as a separate species (AOU 1998). A. fulvigula, A. rubripes, A. wyvilliana, A. laysanensis, and some Old World forms sometimes are included in this species (AOU 1983, 1998). Allozyme data presented by Browne et al. (1993) indicate that A. platyrhynchos is specifically distinct from wyvilliana and laysanensis. Mitochondrial DNA data indicate an extremely close evolutionary relationship between mallards and black ducks, and, in conjunction with geographic distributions, suggest that the black duck is a recent evolutionary derivative of a more broadly distributed mallard-black duck ancestor (Avise et al. 1990). See Livezey (1991) for a phylogenetic analysis and classification (supergenera, subgenera, infragenera, etc.) of dabbling ducks based on comparative morphology. See Byers and Cary (1991) for information on morphological differences among wild, urban, and game-farm mallards.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 21Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5N,N5M (26Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S3B,S5N), Alaska (S5), Arizona (S5), Arkansas (S4B,S5N), California (SNR), Colorado (S5), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (S5B,S5N), District of Columbia (S4N,S5B), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S5), Idaho (S4B,S4N), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4), Iowa (S4B,S5N), Kansas (S4B,S5N), Kentucky (S3S4B,S4S5N), Louisiana (S5N), Maine (S5B,S5N), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (S5), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNRB,SNRN), Mississippi (S5N), Missouri (SNRB,SNRN,SNRM), Montana (S5), Navajo Nation (S4), Nebraska (S5), Nevada (S5), New Hampshire (S5), New Jersey (S5), New Mexico (S5B,S5N), New York (S5), North Carolina (S4B,S5N), North Dakota (SNRB), Ohio (S5), Oklahoma (SU), Oregon (S5), Pennsylvania (S5B,S5N), Rhode Island (S5B,S5N), South Carolina (SNRB,SNRN), South Dakota (S5B,S5N), Tennessee (S5B), Texas (S3B,S5N), Utah (S4S5B,S4N), Vermont (S4B,S5N), Virginia (S4), Washington (S5B,S5N), West Virginia (S5B,S5N), Wisconsin (S5B), Wyoming (S4N,S5B)
Canada Alberta (S5B), British Columbia (S5B,S5N), Labrador (S3B,SUM), Manitoba (S5B), New Brunswick (S5B,S4N,S5M), Newfoundland Island (S3B,SUM), Northwest Territories (S5B), Nova Scotia (S5), Nunavut (SUB,SUM), Ontario (S5), Prince Edward Island (S5B), Quebec (S5), Saskatchewan (S5B,S5N), Yukon Territory (S4B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDS: Alaska, Mackenzie Delta, southern Keewatin, and Maine south to southern California, Mexico, Oklahoma, and Virginia. Has expanded range in eastern North America (especially in the north) in recent decades (see Heusmann 1991 for a detailed account of status in the Atlantic Flyway). WINTERS: southern Alaska and southern Canada to southern U.S., Mexico, Cuba, occasionally Hawaii (AOU 1983). Half or more of the Mississippi Flyway's 3.2 million mallards winter in the lower Mississippi Valley, from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to the Gulf of Mexico. Also occurs in the Palearctic. Many semiferal populations exist. Availablity of grain allows wintering north of pre-settlement range; now rare in Central America.

Number of Occurrences: > 300

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals

Overall Threat Impact Comments: The recent decline is not simply a reflection of reduced number of wet ponds for breeding (Johnson and Shaffer 1987).

Short-term Trend Comments: Breeding population index has declined since the early 1970s; the index is below the USFWS management objective (USFWS 1988). Though prairie populations have declined, boreal breeding populations and brood size near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, did not change between the 1960s and 1980s (Nudds and Cole 1991). See Scott and Reynolds (1984) for information on the status of subspecies DIAZI in Mexico.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDS: Alaska, Mackenzie Delta, southern Keewatin, and Maine south to southern California, Mexico, Oklahoma, and Virginia. Has expanded range in eastern North America (especially in the north) in recent decades (see Heusmann 1991 for a detailed account of status in the Atlantic Flyway). WINTERS: southern Alaska and southern Canada to southern U.S., Mexico, Cuba, occasionally Hawaii (AOU 1983). Half or more of the Mississippi Flyway's 3.2 million mallards winter in the lower Mississippi Valley, from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to the Gulf of Mexico. Also occurs in the Palearctic. Many semiferal populations exist. Availablity of grain allows wintering north of pre-settlement range; now rare in Central America.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CTexotic, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MDexotic, ME, MI, MN, MO, MSnative and exotic, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; NatureServe, 2005; WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AZ Cochise (04003), Santa Cruz (04023)
ID Ada (16001), Bannock (16005), Bear Lake (16007), Bingham (16011), Blaine (16013), Bonner (16017), Bonneville (16019), Boundary (16021), Camas (16025), Canyon (16027), Cassia (16031), Custer (16037), Elmore (16039), Fremont (16043), Gooding (16047), Jefferson (16051), Kootenai (16055), Lemhi (16059), Nez Perce (16069), Owyhee (16073), Power (16077)
OK Greer (40055), Harmon (40057), Tillman (40141)
WY Sublette (56035)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
11 Lower Salt Fork Red (11120202)+, Elm Fork Red (11120304)+, Groesbeck-Sandy (11130101)+, Blue-China (11130102)+, West Cache (11130203)+
14 Big Sandy (14040104)+
15 Upper San Pedro (15050202)+
16 Bear Lake (16010201)+
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Pend Oreille Lake (17010214)+, Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303)+, Upper Spokane (17010305)+, Idaho Falls (17040201)+, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, Willow (17040205)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Portneuf (17040208)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, Raft (17040210)+, Upper Snake-Rock (17040212)+, Beaver-Camas (17040214)+, Big Lost (17040218)+, Big Wood (17040219)+, Camas (17040220)+, Little Wood (17040221)+, Bruneau (17050102)+, Middle Snake-Succor (17050103)+, Middle Owyhee (17050107)+, Jordan (17050108)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Middle Snake-Payette (17050115)+, Lower Snake-Asotin (17060103)+, Upper Salmon (17060201)+*, Pahsimeroi (17060202)+, Lemhi (17060204)+, Clearwater (17060306)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Clutch size is 5-14 (usually 8-10). Incubation, by female, lasts 26-30 days. Young first fly at 49-60 days. First breeds at 1 year. May attain high nesting density (up to at least about 400 nests/ha) on islands free of mammalian predators.
Ecology Comments: Breeding density (2.3-9.5 birds per sq km) fluctuates with pond abundance in prairie pothole region (Krapu et al. 1983). In Manitoba, nesting home range size averaged 283 hectares (Dzubin 1955). Average breeding home ranges of radio-tagged birds in Minnesota were 210 hectares (12 females) and 240 hectares (12 males); range 66 hectares to 760 hectares (a pair, Gilmer et al. 1975).

In winter, may fly up to 48 to 64 kilometers to forage from roost sites. Does not defend rigid territories, but area immediately surrounding the female usually defended by the male. Broods susceptible to mink predation. Resident birds have higher reproduction whereas migrants have higher survival (Hestbeck et al. 1992).

May be negatively impacting black duck populations in eastern North America as a result of competitive interactions (Merendino and Ankney 1994).

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Extent of southward migration may depend on winter temperature, water conditions, and population size. Arrives in northern breeding areas in late March and early April, in far north from mid-May into June. Departs from northern breeding areas late September into November (may depart from far north by mid-August) (Palmer 1976).

Makes postbreeding migration to molting area; females that nested in Suisun Marsh, California, began leaving in late May, 50% had departed by mid-June, and nearly all had departed by mid-July; migrated mainly northward to areas in California and south-central Oregon, 12-536 km from nesting sites; exhibited fidelity to molting area (Yarris et al. 1994).

Estuarine Habitat(s): Herbaceous wetland, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river, Tidal flat/shore
Riverine Habitat(s): Low gradient
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian, TEMPORARY POOL
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow
Habitat Comments: Primarily shallow waters such as ponds, lakes, marshes, and flooded fields; in migration and in winter mostly in fresh water and cultivated fields, less commonly in brackish situations (AOU 1983). See Nichols et al. (1983). Adapted to dynamic wetland conditions that provide a variety of wetland types in relatively close proximity (Allen 1986, which see for details on winter habitat in Lower Mississippi Valley). In Maryland, breeding pairs and broods used stormwater-control basins, especially permanent ponds with gently sloping sides (Adams et al. 1985). In California and Oregon, molting areas were dominated by bulrush and cattail and were traditionally flooded in summer and often associated with lakes or rivers (Yarris et al. 1994). Usually nests on ground in concealing vegetation, sometimes in trees or in atypical situations. Nest usually within 0.8 km of water (Palmer 1976). Commonly uses man-made ponds. Successful nesters are more likely to return to the same nesting site in successive years than are unsuccessful nesters.
Adult Food Habits: Granivore, Herbivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Granivore, Herbivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats seeds, rootlets, and tubers of aquatic plants, seeds of swamp and river bottom trees, acorns, cultivated grains, insects, mollusks, amphibians, small fishes, fish eggs; adults eat mostly vegetable material, young initially eat mainly invertebrates. Foraging opportunities optimal where water depth less than 40 cm. See Allen (1986) for further details on diet.
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Length: 58 centimeters
Weight: 1082 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: See Munro and Kimball (1982) for information on harvest (1961-1975).
Management Summary
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Species Impacts: Hybridization with mallard has been implicated in the declines of several other duck species (e.g., see Rhymer et al. 1994).
Management Requirements: See Anderson et al. (1974) for bibliography of management findings. See Allen (1986) for habitat suitability index model and information of wetland, timber, and cover type management in relation to winter habitat in Lower Mississippi Valley. See Barker et al. (1990) for information on the effects of different livestock grazing systems on nesting success in North Dakota. See Marcy (1986) for specifications for the construction and placement of wire nest baskets.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Dabbling Ducks

Use Class: Breeding
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance a compromise between three times average home range diameters (about 5-6 kilometers), and the great mobility of these birds. Home ranges: female Black Duck, mean 130 hectares during prelaying and laying period (n = 7, Ringelman et al. 1982); Mallards, mean 283 hectares (Dzubin 1955), 210 hectares (females) and 240 hectares (males) (Gilmer et al. 1975).
Breeding site fidelity: female Black Ducks in New England, 25% returned to nest in the following year, most within 91 meters of previous nest (Coulter and Miller 1968).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1.6 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Diameter of average home range of Mallards (Gilmer et al. 1975).
Date: 08Mar2001
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Subtype(s): Staging area, Foraging area, Roosting area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating or staging flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds/0.5 square kilometer in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 11Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Molting area, Wintering area, Non-breeding feeding concentration area, Roosting area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of molting or wintering flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds/0.5 square kilometer in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 20 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Mapping Guidance: Map roosting and feeding areas with separate polygons in same EO.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Wintering flocks of American Black Ducks fly an average of 10 kilometres from roost to foraging area, but have been recorded flying up to 43 kilometres (Frazer et al. 1990). However, occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 29May2001
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 26Sep1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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