Monday, August 15, 2011

Where have all the male Mallards gone?

Are you wondering where all the male Mallard ducks have gone? Read on......
"In mid-summer after breeding, the male Mallard has a complete molt, producing a dull-colored basic plumage, aptly termed the eclipse plumage. Male Mallards in eclipse plumage look remarkably like females, but their bills are light olive green, while females' are orange marked with black. Because flight feathers are also molted at this time, the birds become temporarily flightless and tend to be very secretive. The male Mallard's basic plumage is kept only a few weeks; it is soon lost in a molt of the body feathers which produces the brightly colored head and other distinctive features of the breeding plumage. The timing of this molt is related to courtship in Mallards, which begins in the fall." ~ The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Male Mallard in eclipse plumage

Female Mallard

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this information! During a recent week at a lake in Massachusetts, I had thought all the males had just gone somewhere else, and this helps me understand that I was seeing males after all.