Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Linnaeus, 1758

Order: Anseriformes Family: Anatidae Status: Breeding in Madeira

Mallard Field ID Keys

Shape & Size

A large dabbling duck, heavily built with short tail.

Colour Pattern

Males have green head, yellow bill, narrow white collar, brown breast, greyish body with black and white ventral region and curly, black, central tail feathers. The females are brownish overall, with streaked body, white tail and dark bill. Both sexes have blue white-edged speculum and whitish underwings.


If it is a truly wild duck it is shy though the status of the wild form is obscured by the release/escape of bred ducks for shooting/cooking. Its flight is strong and fast with the wingbeats being mostly below body level.


The most widespread and familiar of all ducks through the Western Palearctic. Favours any kind of wetland within the reach of any kind of water. In Madeira it is found on some brackish water ponds and freshwater reservoirs.

Distinction from similar species

Males are very distinct but females may be confused with Gadwall, being the blue speculum combined with dark bill and white tail the diagnostic feature for female Mallard.

Anas platyrhynchos Biometrics

Wingspan: 81 - 98 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Total length: 50 - 65 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Weight: 0.5 - 1.5 kg (Hume, 2002)

Other Bird Facts

Seasonality in Madeira: All year
Breeding: Feather-lined nest on ground where 9 to 13 eggs are laid in a single brood between January and August
Diet: Takes small aquatic invertebrates, seeds, roots, shoots and grains from water or ground.


Madeira local status by Correia-Fagundes et al, 2021: Rare breeding bird
Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Rare breeding bird
Madeira local status by Zino et al, 1995: Occasional vagrant bird
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Least Concern ver 3.1

Name of this species in other languages

Portuguese: Pato-real
German: Stockente
Dutch: Wilde Eend
Swedish: Gräsand
Danish: Gråand
Finish: Sinisorsa
Norwegian: Stokkand
Spanish: Anade real
French: Canard colvert
Italian: Germano reale
Polish: Krzyżówka
Slovak: Kačica divá
Czech: Kachna divoká

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