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What am I?

I am probably the most familiar dabbling duck in the UK!

Where do I come from?

Most of us live here all year but there are some migratory mallards! Many that breed in Iceland and Northern Europe spend the winter in Britain and Ireland.

A bit about me

I am a large, heavy looking duck with a long body and long broad bill. The male of our species has a dark green head, a yellow bill with a white ‘scarf’. The females are mainly brown with an orange bill. We have been domesticated for centuries though and so various plumages have evolved which means we might not always look exactly the same. We can be spotted on most park ponds and lakes but also in rivers and estuaries. We moult after breeding season and are flightless for 4 to 5 weeks.

Local spotlight

We are very common around the Solent coast and also further inland in park ponds, rivers and lakes. However, despite being very common our population in the UK is thought to have decreased by over 30% in recent years.

Conservation status

I’m amber listed in the UK

My name might not be listed in the Solent’s Special Protection Areas but I am still definitely important for the coastal ecosystem and form part of the non-breeding waterbird assemblages which these regions are protected for.

Fun fact

Only the females (known as hens) make the familiar quacking sound. The males (known as drakes) call is much softer and quieter.