Anas platyrhynchos

Common name:


Scientific name:

Anas platyrhynchos

Alternative common names:


Mallard are becoming a common sight around many dams and waterbodies in Gauteng and the Cape. Mallard reach a body length up to 58cm. The male has a glossy green head and a white neck collar, as well as a bright yellow bill and chestnut-brown breast. The female is mottled brown with an orange or black bill. Mallards are detrimental to our indigenous water birds as they are capable of interbreeding with the yellow-billed duck (Anas undulata).

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Northern Hemisphere

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 2

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Escapees have established feral, self-sustaining populations, primarily in the Western Cape and Gauteng.

How does it spread?

High reproduction success

Why is it a problem?

Hybridizes with endemic duck species, such as the yellow-billed duck (Anas undulata) threatening the genetic integrity of these indigenous ducks. Mallards also compete against indigenous species for the same resources, such as food and nesting sites.

What does it look like?

The mallard is about 58cm in length. It has a blue patch on the top side of its wings with a white line around it. The male mallard is brightly coloured and has a green head and neck with a white ring bordering it. It has a brown chest, a whitish-grey underside, brown wings and a yellow bill. The female mallard is mottled brown and tan with a white tail and an orange bill.

Vegetated wetlands, including estuaries and lagoons.

Breeding occurs in early spring. Nests are depressions in the ground, not too far from water and the nest is lined with down and is usually hidden in tall grass. Egg clutches may consist of 5-14 eggs laid at about 1 egg per day; Incubation is performed by the female for about 30 days. The male will leave once incubation has begun.

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