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Mallards in Ireland

Male and female mallard

The mallard is one of Ireland's most common ducks. It is also one of our largest ducks and is readily recognisable. Males have an iridescent striking green head, a yellow bill, white ring around the neck, grey underparts, blue speculum, and a black rump. Females are much more drab. They are largely brown but with blue speculum, dark stripe across the eye and white tail sides.

Although the average life span for a mallard is ten years the longest lived mallard was recorded at 20 years and five months in 1986.

Irish Name for Mallard

The Irish word for mallard is Mallard.

Mallard Feeding

Mallard ducks are omnivorous feeders. Their diet is highly variable, with plant material, and particularly seeds, forming a large part of the diet.

A range of animal material is also taken, including insects, molluscs and crustaceans. Other food items include grain and stubble, and they have been known to feed on a variety of food items from humans.

Mallards Nesting

Mallard eggs

A Mallard's nest is usually from leaves and grasses and is generally located amongst dense vegetation.

Mallard eggs are smooth and waxy, and pale green or blue-green. They are about 57 mm by 41 mm in size. The female incubates the eggs by herself. The nestlings are precocial (they are are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of hatching), and when newly hatched the female waits until their feathers have dried before taking them out on to the water.

Newly born duckling may be lost to crows, herons, magpies, pike and even large perch. Both the young and adult mallards are also the prey of foxes and mink.

Vandals, pollution, dogs, overhead cables, bridges, pylons, lead poisoning, fishing-tackle injuries are some of the main threats to mallards.

Female Mallard


Scientific Name:
Anas platyrhynchos



Irish Status:

Length: 58cm Wingspan: 90cm Weight: M: 1.2kg / F: 0.98kg

Call: Male makes a nasal rheab, repeated when alert on water, and short whistle during courtship. Females quack loudly.

Habitat: Wetlands - rivers, lakes & ponds, estuaries.

Diet: Omnivorous. Plant material, including seeds. Molluscs, crustaceans, insects.

Breeding Age:
From 1 year
Number of Eggs:
No. of Clutches:
1 (occasionally 2)
Incubation (days):
Fledging (days):
3 years

Conservation Status in Ireland: GREEN

Mallard Range in Ireland

The mallard is a permanent resident and is widespread and common throughout Ireland.

Map of the range of Mallards in Ireland.

Arctic Terns in Ireland - Blue Tits in Ireland - Coal Tits in Ireland - Goldfinches in Ireland - Great Tits in Ireland - Grey Herons in Ireland - Jackdaws in Ireland - Longtailed Tits in Ireland - Magpies in Ireland - Mallards in Ireland - Mistle Thrushes in Ireland - Mute Swans in Ireland - Pheasants in Ireland - Puffins in Ireland - Robins in Ireland - Rooks in Ireland - Song Thrushes in Ireland - Starlings in Ireland - Swallows in Ireland - Swans in Tallaght - Swans Oil-Damaged - Waxwings in Ireland - Woodpigeons in Ireland - Wrens in Ireland

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