Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Ansiformes

Family: Antiadiea


The mallard breeds in most of Canada and the United States. It winters throughout the United States and south to Central America and the West Indies. The mallard can also be found in Europe and Asia.


Most of the mallard's diet is made up of plants. It eats the seeds of grasses and sedges and the leaves, stems, and seeds of aquatic plants. It occasionally eats insects and crustaceans and mollusks, especially when it is young. It prefers to forage in water that is less than 16 inches deep so it can duck its head down and reach plants at the bottom. The mallard sometimes forages on farmland for grains like rice, corn, oats, wheat, and barley.

Life Cycle
Mallard courtship begins in the fall and by winter pairs will have formed. If a pair is part of a migrating group, the pair migrates to the female's territory. The female mallard lays eight to ten eggs in a nest on the ground. Nests are depressions in the ground and are usually no further than 100 yards from water. The nest is lined with down and is usually hidden in tall grass.