Do Mallard Ducks Mate for Life?

Do Mallard Ducks Mate for Life

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Mallard ducks have an extraordinary sex life, which makes people seeking more facts about them. Sticking to the mallard ducks mating habits, people often ask me, do mallard ducks mate for life?.

I have farming experience of livestock’ animals and birds like ducks and chickens. I experienced a lot of uncommon mating habits of mallards during the past years when I kept them at my farm. That interesting habit urged me to seek more knowledge about mallard ducks.

Not only the ducks have interesting sex habits, but they do have a truly unique lifestyle.

They mate with other species too and produce new breeds such as the American black duck.

At first, glance, when you see them, it seems much cute and adorable. But you will find their mating truly confronting.

All of the mating, breeding and nesting habits are interesting to study. If you really love birds then you would love to know these interesting facts about mallards. Let’s move to the article to learn something new about mallards mating and breeding.

Mallard Ducks

Mallards are basically dabbling ducks, mostly found in temperate and subtropical America and North Africa. Lately, it has been introduced to Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, New Zealand, and Peru. 

Male mallards have glossy green heads while female ones have brown-speckled plumage. The common feature both of these sexes have is white-bordered black and blue feathers known as spectrum.

Mallards are omnivores but the diet plan varies during the breeding season, inter and intraspecific competition, and nutrient availability. 

Mallards form pairs during the October and November months and the female lays eggs and enters the nesting season during the spring season.

Do Mallard Ducks Mate for Life?

The very simple and accurate answer to this question may be opposite to your expectations and the answer is “No”. Mallards just form the pairs during the winter starting the season and they choose the female blindly.

According to the new study Male mallards mate with them and stay with them till nesting. After the nesting period starts males break up with them and move away. All the later nesting stages have to be followed by females only.

In the next breeding season, males do not attract the same female. They choose another female and spend the breeding season with them and leaves after nesting.

How Mallard Ducks Mate?

Mallard ducks mate in pairs and these pairs remain till the female lays her eggs. From nesting, the male leaves the female duck and finds another female. 

Actually, the mating of mallards seems to be forceful action as the male gets over the female and bends her down. Both of the partners look much aggressive during the mating season. 

Male mallards have no affection to protect and serve the female duck for nesting and offsprings. He leaves the female during the much tedious time of incubation and moves aside to a place where he could rest throughout the seasonal molt.

Do mallards mate with other species?

Yes, mallards mate with other species too and produce hybrid breeds frequently. Alike to the female mallards, they form temporary pairs with other species and mate with them to produce hybrid breeds.

The most common found hybrid breeds of mallards are the American black duck and northern pintail.

Breeding habits of Mollard Ducks

Female mallard duck builds its own nest from leaves and grass stalks, such a way that lines pluck them plucked down from her breast. The Female lays down the eggs from mid-March to the end of July. 

In normal breeding, a female clutch contains about 8-12 eggs. These eggs are laid at one to two days intervals. Incubation of these eggs takes about 27 to 38 days and the whole process of incubation is done by the female by herself.

A normal duck loses more than half of its body weight in laying eggs. All of this egg-laying occurs in a couple of weeks.

At this time the female needs the hand of its mate but the male ditches her with time and joins the other males to molt.

These molting males forcefully mate with the females that are unattached. This type of anti-social behavior of male mallards ends till molting is underway. 

Nesting habits

Female mallards prefer to nest near the safe area having vegetation covers and water availability. Nests are built in the protected cavity having the food supply and swimming facility. It will not be less than gold if found in a tree with large natural holes. 

They build their nests in the less perfect places like woodpiles, haystacks, boathouses, old crows nests, and roof gardens. Sometimes they are also found in the large flower pots and balconies.

Young ducklings or offspring remain with their mothers for protection usually for two months before fledging.


What happens when a mallard duck loses its mate?

When a mallard duck loses its mate then the female surviving member does not form the new pair and lives the remaining life to its end of the deal. While the surviving male mallard forms a new pair and mates with others.

What is the lifespan of a mallard duck?

The actual lifespan of a mallard duck seems to be 5-10 years. 

How often do mallard ducks mate?

Mallard ducks form pairs during the months of October and November and stay in pairs till the end of breeding. Breeding season starts in early March and stays till the end of May. Male mallards mate with the female during the season and leave the female at the end and go to the resting period throughout the year.

Are mallard ducks monogamous?

Yes, Mallards are monogamous. Mallards often force the extra-pair copulations and chase the single female and mate with her.

Final Words

No, mallard ducks do not mate for life. But their mating habit is very much interesting. They mate with their female ones during the early winter-like October and November months and after the breeding, they ditched their females. 

Mallards not only mate with the female ducks but also mate with other species and produce hybrid breeds like American black duck.


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