Mallard Duck vs Wood Ducks: 7 Differences

Mallard Duck vs Wood Ducks

Farming Base ( is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to them.

Mallard and wood duck are the two exceptional duck breeds that every duck keeper wants to own. However, it’s illegal to raise either of the two breeds.

The Mallard and Wood ducks are the two protected species that you can not harass, harm, or keep without a specific state or federal permit.

The two breeds do not just sound appealing because they can not be raised as domestic pets. Mallard and Wood ducks have got a reason to be special and these breeds are protected for a cause.

The Mallard duck breed is famous for its”quack” whereas, the Wood duck is one of the few duck breeds that has got claws on their feet. Surprisingly, that’s not all there is more for you to know.

Mallard Duck

mallard duck

The member of the Anatidae family known as Mallard Duck is categorized as a dabbling Wild duck.

Mallard ducks are quite small, they do not even fit into hands well. They are unsuitable to raise in a household environment, most owners have ended up getting rid of them.

Being too small or unsuitable for the domestic environment does not make the Mallard duck any bad, they are unique and praiseworthy in other senses.

Wood Ducks

wood duck

The Wood duck is another duck breed that can not be raised in a domestic environment.

This duck breed is widely found living near the beaver ponds, sloughs, forested backwaters, and oak-lined portions of creeks in the United States and Canada.

However, they are categorized as perching ducks. Wood astonishes the viewers with the different colorations they have on their bodies.

Mallard Duck vs. Wood Duck


As mentioned above, Mallards are dabbling ducks whereas the Wood duck belongs to the perching ducks category.

The category called “dabbling duck” includes the breeds that typically feed in shallow water by upending and dabbling.

Whereas, perching ducks are quite the opposite. They have a habit of inhabiting wet woodlands, nesting in the holes of trees, and perching on the branches using their long-clawed toes.


When it comes to appearance, Mallard and Wood ducks do not appear the same.

The Mallard ducks have a prominent dark, iridescent-green head, bright yellow bills, brown breasts, grey body, and black rears.

Whereas, the other case has got a boxy crested head, whitish throat, thin neck with white flares, and multicolored plumage.


Mallard ducks are more common as compared to Wood ducks. This duck breed is commonly found in Eurasia, North Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Falkland Islands, and South Africa. However, the Wood ducks are most commonly spotted only in the United States or Canada.


Natural and artificial wetland habitats suit the Mallard duck. They prefer living in lakes, marshes, rivers, and ponds. They can swim underwater.

Moreover, Mallard ducks are also noticed to survive well in coastal habitats such as Suburban parks and residential backyards.

However, Wood ducks are found in a mix of water habitats and forests. Ponds, lakes, marshes, rivers, and streams are Wood duck’s home.


Wood ducks prefer to eat aquatic plants. However, when aquatic food is not available, they turn to fulfill their needs from seeds, fruits, insects, and arthropods.

Mallard ducks mainly derive nutrients and energy from plant matter; seeds, stems, roots of sedges, grasses, pondweeds, and smartweeds. Since Mallards are omnivores they eat insects, mollusks, tadpoles, earthworms, small fishes, and crustaceans as well.


Wood is a medium-sized perching duck, they can weigh anywhere between 454 to 862 g. Whereas,

Mallard usually has weight somewhere around 720 to 1600 g. Therefore, Mallard is heavier as compared to Wood ducks. Mallard ducks feathers are dense as compared to wood duck.


As mentioned above, Wood duck is a medium-sized ducks therefore they are more or less as tall as average-sized ducks.

To be more specific, an adult wood duck can achieve a height somewhere between 47 to 54 cm (19 to 21 in). The Mallard ducks remain below 620 cm.

Conservation status

Due to excessive hunting, Wood ducks almost disappeared however in 1900 it slowly begins recovering.

Now, there are enough Wood ducks out there that their conservation status is the “least concern”. Mallard ducks can fly as compared to other flightless duck breeds.

Mallard ducks never went into the danger zone, they were of our “least concern” since the beginning of time. Mallard ducks mate for life.


Though, Wood ducks and Mallard ducks are breathtakingly different. However, if these breeds are raised or kept, they are raised for the same purpose. To be more specific, as an ornamental bird.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.