British wildlife recordings

Anas platyrhynchos : Mallard - Anatidae

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  • Type

    sound

  • Duration

    00:00:14

  • Shelf mark

    W1CDR0001518 BD12

  • Subjects

    Birds

  • Recording date

    1976/01/26

  • Recording locations

    Rye Grove, Windelsham, Surrey: OS Grid Reference(493500,163500)

  • Recordist

    Williams, Aubrey John

  • Species

    Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos

  • Description

    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.

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