Johnny Magory - Duck

Duck – Lacha

The average lifespan of the mallard duck is 10 years but the oldest recorded was 27 years. The mallard is one of Ireland’s most common ducks. It is also one of our largest ducks. Males have a striking green head, a yellow bill, white ring around the neck, grey underparts, blue speculum, and a black rump. Females are mainly brown.

Their diet varies from seeds to insects and crustaceans to grain and stubble to human given foods. They will lay anything between 7-16 eggs once a year with the female incubating. She waits until the ducklings feathers are dry after hatching before bringing them for their first swim. 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.

Males don’t quack, and instead produce deeper, raspier one and two note calls. They can also make rattling sounds by rubbing their bills against their flight feathers. Migrating Mallards have been clocked flying at 55 miles per hour usually cruising at an altitude of less than 10,000 feet. In 1962, a mallard was struck by a commercial airliner at 21,000 feet—a record altitude for a bird-aircraft collision at the time. Although the mallard are common, the population has also declined by over 40% in the last 20 years.

Watch Emma-Jane explain about the duck here