British wildlife recordings
Anas platyrhynchos : Mallard - Anatidae
The British Library Board acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors to this recording and the rights of those not identified.
Legal and ethical usage »
Rye Grove, Windelsham, Surrey: OS Grid Reference(493500,163500)
Williams, Aubrey John
Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
Call made by a mallard recorded on Rye Grove, Surrey. The mallard is the most familiar duck throughout Britain. It is a very adaptable bird that has learnt to live alongside man, and is as at home on a park lake or city pond as it is on a remote reservoir or rural backwater. The male is immediately identifiable by its bottle-green head, yellow bill, maroon breast, and curly black tail feathers. The mallard is a 'dabbling duck', feeding on the surface of the water or by upending itself to reach down with its head and neck to collect aquatic plant matter or insects and insect larvae. It is a communal bird and is often seen in small flocks, but if disturbed will rise straight from the water into the air with a powerful whirring of wings. It is the female that makes the classic 'quack' call that is often repeated a number of times in succession. Both sexes are promiscuous and some males will even resort to rape in an attempt to breed with unwilling females. Nesting begins in February and nests can be situated on the ground or in trees. Approximately 138,000 pairs breed in Britain, with a winter influx of mallards from northern Europe boosting the population as high as 500,000.