Complete hybridisation of various species of wild duck gene pools could result in the extinction of many indigenous waterfowl.  Upon hatching, the plumage of the duckling is yellow on the underside and face (with streaks by the eyes) and black on the back (with some yellow spots) all the way to the top and back of the head. The wingspan is 81–98 cm (32–39 in) and the bill is 4.4 to 6.1 cm (1.7 to 2.4 in) long. , The Eastern or Chinese spot-billed duck is currently introgressing into the mallard populations of the Primorsky Krai, possibly due to habitat changes from global warming. The mallard was one of the many bird species originally described in the 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae by Carl Linnaeus. :507, The mallard is omnivorous and very flexible in its choice of food.  Bergmann's Rule, which states that polar forms tend to be larger than related ones from warmer climates, has numerous examples in birds, as in case of the Greenland mallard which is larger than the mallards further south. Both sexes have an area of white-bordered black or iridescent blue feathers called a speculum on their wings; males especially tend to have blue speculum feathers. The male birds (drakes) have a glossy green head and are grey on their wings and belly, while the females (hens or ducks) have mainly brown-speckled plumage. The mallard was one of the many bird species originally described in the 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae by Carl Linnaeus. , The Laysan duck is an insular relative of the mallard, with a very small and fluctuating population. The repetition and frequency modulation of these quacks form the auditory basis for species identification in offspring, a process known as acoustic conspecific identification.  Also, mallards may be attacked by larger anseriformes such as swans (Cygnus spp.) , The mallard is a medium-sized waterfowl species that is often slightly heavier than most other dabbling ducks. They grow to about 26 inches in length and can weigh up to 3 pounds. The green head and yellow bill of the mallard duck is a familiar sight to many people living in the Northern hemisphere.  Mallards and their domesticated conspecifics are also fully interfertile. He gave it two binomial names: Anas platyrhynchos and Anas boschas. There, and elsewhere, mallards are spreading with increasing urbanisation and hybridising with local relatives. This is to prevent hybridisation with the native mottled duck.  If this continues, only hybrids occur and in the long term result in the extinction of various indigenous waterfowl. Mallards are very adaptable, being able to live and even thrive in urban areas which may have supported more localised, sensitive species of waterfowl before development. , A noisy species, the female has the deep quack stereotypically associated with ducks.  It is found in both fresh- and salt-water wetlands, including parks, small ponds, rivers, lakes and estuaries, as well as shallow inlets and open sea within sight of the coastline.  The release of feral mallards in areas where they are not native sometimes creates problems through interbreeding with indigenous waterfowl. When incubating a nest, or when offspring are present, females vocalise differently, making a call that sounds like a truncated version of the usual quack. Download preview. , The predation-avoidance behaviour of sleeping with one eye open, allowing one brain hemisphere to remain aware while the other half sleeps, was first demonstrated in mallards, although it is believed to be widespread among birds in general. A subspecies of the Mallard called the “Mexican Duck,” Anas platyrhynchos diazi, occurs in parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.  Hunting mallards might cause the population to decline in some places, at some times, and with some populations. 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Its iconic green head sits atop a white neckband that sets off a chestnut-colored chest and gray body.  Haplotypes typical of American mallard relatives and eastern spot-billed ducks can be found in mallards around the Bering Sea. , Mallards have often been ubiquitous in their regions among the ponds, rivers, and streams of human parks, farms, and other human-made waterways – even to the point of visiting water features in human courtyards. The female lays eight to thirteen creamy white to greenish-buff spotless eggs, on alternate days. A. p. platyrhynchos Linnaeus, 1758 There are webbing among the toes, but rarely scuba diving.  Mitochondrial DNA data for the D-loop sequence suggests that mallards may have evolved in the general area of Siberia. Also in the east, it ranges to south-eastern and south-western Australia and New Zealand in the Southern hemisphere. , During the breeding season, both male and female mallards can become aggressive, driving off competitors to themselves or their mate by charging at them. Most mallard species are common and not considered threatened.  The genome of Anas platyrhynchos was sequenced in 2013. Dressing, gulf. , Mallards frequently interbreed with their closest relatives in the genus Anas, such as the American black duck, and also with species more distantly related, such as the northern pintail, leading to various hybrids that may be fully fertile.  This is quite unusual among such different species, and is apparently because the mallard evolved very rapidly and recently, during the Late Pleistocene. Mallards prefer calm, shallow sanctuaries, but can be found in almost any body of freshwater across Asia, Europe, and North America.  In certain countries, the mallard may be legally shot but is protected under national acts and policies. , Mallards are opportunistically targeted by brood parasites, occasionally having eggs laid in their nests by redheads, ruddy ducks, lesser scaup, gadwalls, northern shovellers, northern pintails, cinnamon teal, common goldeneyes, and other mallards. , Mallards are also preyed upon by other waterside apex predators, such as the grey heron, European herring gull, the wels catfish, and the northern pike. :506 Two months after hatching, the fledgling period has ended, and the duckling is now a juvenile. :506 More similar to the female mallard in North America are the American black duck (A. rubripes), which is notably darker-hued in both sexes than the mallard, and the mottled duck (A. fulvigula), which is somewhat darker than the female mallard, and with slightly different bare-part colouration and no white edge on the speculum.  They are a common sight in urban parks, lakes, ponds, and other human-made water features in the regions they inhabit, and are often tolerated or encouraged in human habitat due to their placid nature towards humans and their beautiful and iridescent colours.  It is possible that this behaviour allows the female to evaluate the strength of potential partners.
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