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Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos

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Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

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FWP Conservation Tier: 3
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Copyright by Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, all rights reserved.
 
General Description
Medium sized dabbling duck with stocky build. Length: 50 to 65cm; mass: 1000 to 1300 g. Strongly sexually dimorphic. Adult male in breeding plumage has dark-green head, narrow white neck-ring, chestnut-brown breast, brownish-gray upperparts, grayish underparts, black rump and under tail-coverts, white outer tail-feathers and strongly recurved black central tail-feathers. In basic plumage, held briefly in late summer, the male retains its solid dark-greenish crown, warm-brown breast, darker upperparts, and slight upturned central tail-feathers.. Female plumage is similar year-round. Has broken streaky pattern of buff, white, gray, or black on brown feathers, white outer tail-feathers, contrastingly pale belly and under tail-covets and prominent dark eyeline. Juvenal plumage similar to female but averages darker, with notched tail feathers (Drilling, Tittman, and McKinney 2002).



The majority of domestic duck breeds are of Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) origin, but they are easily distinguishable from the wild Mallard by their heavier bodies.

Species Range
Montana Range

Click the legend blocks above to view individual ranges.

Western Hemisphere Range

 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 10085

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

Breeding
(direct evidence "B")


Breeding
(indirect evidence "b")


No evidence of Breeding
(transient "t")


Overwintering
(regular observations "W")


Overwintering
(at least one obs. "w")



 

(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)



Migration
In the Bozeman area, normal migration occurs from February 25 to April 20 and from October 15 to January 1, with peaks on March 20 and December 1 (Skaar 1969).

Habitat
In North America, the Mallard is the most abundant duck species. Its success in the wild reflects its adaptability to varied habitats, its hardiness in cold climates, and tolerance of human activities. Usual nest site is in uplands close to water. Nests in wide variety of situations with dense cover, including grasslands, marshes, bogs, riverine floodplains, dikes, roadside ditches, pastures, cropland, shrubland, fence lines, rock piles, forests, and fragments of cover around farmsteads (Drilling, Tittman, and McKinney 2002). Comments on habitat are in Holm (1984).

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
    How Associations Were Made
    We associated the use and habitat quality (high, medium, or low) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
    1. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2001, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species’ range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point database associated with each ecological system;
    4. Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of “observations versus availability of habitat”.
    Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.  In general, species were associated as using an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.  However, species were not associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if point observations were associated with that system.  High, medium, and low habitat quality was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species in the literature.  The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignments of habitat quality.  If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact Bryce Maxell at bmaxell@mt.gov or (406) 444-3655.

    Suggested Uses and Limitations
    Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.  These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.  Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.  Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.  Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).  Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species’ known geographic range.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2001.  The wild mammals of Montana.  Special Publication No. 12.  Lawrence, KS: The American Society of Mammalogists.  278 p.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana’s amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
Omnivorous. Very flexible in food choice; diet composition depends on stage of annual cycle, hydrological conditions, invertebrate behavior, and crop-harvesting schedule (Drilling, Tittman, and McKinney 2002).

Ecology
At Freezeout Lake, the most common cause of nest failure was skunk predation. Brood movements in southeast Montana tended to be from bare ponds to those with emergent vegetation, from small to larger ponds, and to ponds with a lower water loss rate.

Reproductive Characteristics
Active nests have been found from April 15 to July 21, and hatching dates have been reported for May 10 to August 10. Clutch size averages about 7 for Freezeout Lake and the Fortine area; brood size averages 5.4 on pastures in north-central Montana.

References
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View WorldCat Record   View Online Publication
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    • American Ornithologists' Union. 1998. Check-list of North American birds. 7th edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. 829 pp.
    • Cowardin, L.M., D.S. Gilmer, and C.W. Shaiffer. 1985. Mallard recruitment in the agricultural environment of North Dakota. Wildl. Monogr. 92: 1-37.
    • Decker Coal Company., 1979?, West Decker 5 Year Permit: Avian research and mitigation. In Decker Coal Company West Pit Permit. Vol. 3. 26.4.304(10-11), 305, 306, and 307. Updated Rules Rewrite, July 1, 1991.
    • Drilling, Nancy, Rodger Titman, and Frank Mckinney. 2002. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos). Species Account Number 658. The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; Retrieved 3/25/2008 from The Birds of North America Online database
    • Duebbert, H.F., J.T. Lokemoen, and D.E. Sharp. 1983. Concentrated nesting of Mallards and Gadwalls on Miller Lake Island, North Dakota. J. Wildl. Manage. 47(5): 729-740.
    • ECON, Inc. (Ecological Consulting Service), Helena, MT., 1975, Colstrip 10 x 20 Area wildlife and wildlife habitat annual monitoring report, 1975. Proj. 71-23-A. December 31, 1975.
    • ECON, Inc. (Ecological Consulting Service), Helena, MT., 1976, Colstrip 10 x 20 Area wildlife and wildlife habitat annual monitoring report, 1976. Proj. 135-85-A. December 31, 1976.
    • ECON, Inc. (Ecological Consulting Service), Helena, MT., 1977, Colstrip 10 x 20 Area wildlife and wildlife habitat annual monitoring report, 1977. Proj. 164-85-A. December 31, 1977.
    • ECON, Inc. (Ecological Consulting Service), Helena, MT., 1979, Annual wildllife report of the Colstrip Area for 1978. Proj. 195-85-A. April 6, 1979.
    • ECON, Inc. (Ecological Consulting Service), Helena, MT., 1979, Annual wildllife report of the Colstrip Area for 1979, including a special raptor research study. Proj. 216-85-A. March 1, 1980.
    • ECON, Inc. (Ecological Consulting Service), Helena, MT., 1979, Area B four-section wildlife report. August 3, 1979.
    • Ehrlich, P., D. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder’s handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Schuster Inc. New York. 785 pp.
    • Funk, H. D., J. R. Grieb, G. F. Wrakestraw, and D. Witt. 1968. A proposed mallard drake season in central flyway Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Central Flyway Tech. Comm. Rep., July. 12 pp.
    • Girard, George L. 1941. The mallard -its management in western Montana. J. Wildl. Manage. 5:233-259.
    • Godwin, P.R. and D.E. Joyner. 1981. Pond ecology and its influence on Mallard use in Ontario, Canada. Wildfowl 32:20-34.
    • Golden Sunlight Mines, Inc., Whitehall, MT., 2000, Golden Sunlight Mines, Inc., Annual Permit Reports.
    • Grieb, J. R., H. D. Funk, R. M. Hopper, G. F. Wrakestraw, and D. Witt. 1970. Evaluation of the 1968-1969 experimental mallard drake season in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Trans. No. Am. WildI. and Nat. Res. Conf. 35: 136-148.
    • Hinz, T. C. 1984. Where have all the mallards gone?: an overview of the problems of low waterfowl recruitment on the North American prairies. P. 10 in A. Dood, comp., Agriculture and wildlife. Proc. Mont. Chapt., The WildI. Soc., Butte. 85 pp.
    • Johnsgard, P. A. 1992. Birds of the Rocky Mountains with particular reference to national parks in the northern Rocky Mountain region. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. xi + 504 pp.
    • Johnsgard, P.A. 1975. Waterfowl of North America. Indiana University Press, Bloomington.
    • Johnsgard, P.A. 1979. Birds of the Great Plains: breeding species and their distribution. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln. 539 pp.
    • Johnson, D.H. and J.W. Grier. 1988. Determinants of breeding and distributions of ducks. Wildl. Monogr. 100: 1-37.
    • Klett, A.T., T.L. Shaiffer, and D.H. Johnson. 1988. Duck nest success in the Prairie Pothole Region. J. Wildl. Manage. 52(3): 431-440.
    • Lambing, John H., et al., 1994, Physical, chemical, and biological data for detailed study of the Sun River Irrigation Project, Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area, and Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, west-central Montana, 1990-92, with selected data for 1987-89. May 1994. Open-file report 94-120.
    • Land & Water Consulting, Inc., Missoula, MT., 2002, Montana Dept. of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Report, Year 2001: Lawrence Park, Kalispell, Montana. Proj. No. 130091.008. July 2002. In 2001 Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports, Vol. I.
    • Land & Water Consulting, Inc., Missoula, MT., 2002, Montana Dept. of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Report, Year 2002: Hoskins Landing, Dixon, Montana. Proj. No. 130091.038. February 2003. In 2002 Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports, Vol. I.
    • Land & Water Consulting, Inc., Missoula, MT., 2002, Montana Dept. of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Report, Year 2002: Peterson Ranch, Hall, Montana. Proj. No. 130091.010. February 2003. In 2002 Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports, Vol. II.
    • Land & Water Consulting, Inc., Missoula, MT., 2002, Montana Dept. of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Report, Year 2002: South Fork Smith River, Ringling, Montana. Proj. No. 130091.016. February 2003. In 2002 Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports, Vol. II.
    • Lenard, S., J. Carlson, J. Ellis, C. Jones, and C. Tilly. 2003. P. D. Skaar's Montana Bird Distribution, 6th Edition. Montana Audubon: Helena, MT, 144 pp.
    • Lokemoen, J.T., H.F. Duebbert, and D.E. Sharp. 1990. Homing and reproductive habits of Mallards, Gadwalls, and Blue-winged Teal. Wildl. Monogr. 106:1-28.
    • Maxon, S.J. and M.R. Riggs. 1996. Habitat use and nest success of overwater nesting ducks in westcentral Minnesota. J. Wildl. Manage. 60(1): 108-119.
    • Merendino, M.T., G.B. McCullough, and N.R. North. 1995. Wetland availability and use by breeding waterfowl in southern Ontario. J. Wildl. Manage. 59(3): 527-532.
    • Monda, M.J. and J.T. Ratti. 1988. Niche overlap and habitat use by sympatric duck broods in eastern Washington. J. Wildl. Manage. 52(1): 95-103.
    • Montana Bird Distribution Committee. 2012. P.D. Skaar's Montana bird distribution. 7th Edition. Montana Audubon, Helena, Montana. 208 pp. + foldout map.
    • Montana Dept. of Transportation., 200?, Montana Dept. of Transportation Biological Resources Report: Wetland mitigation east of Browning. Montana Wetland ?? Proj. No. NH 0002(232) CN 0703. In Perry Ranch - East of Browning Wetland Mitigation Site, Glacier County. US#3. Man.? Fin Dist3 Admin.Dist3
    • Orthmeyer, D. L. 1987. Survival of mallard broods on Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Montana. M.S. thesis. University of Montana, Missoula. 58 pp.
    • Palawski, D.U., et al., 1991, Contaminant biomonitoring at the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge in 1988.
    • Palmer, R. S. 1962. Handbook of North American birds. Volume 1. Loons through flamingos. Yale University Press, New Haven. 567 pp.
    • Schladweiler, Philip, and John P. Weigand., 1983, Relationships of endrin and other chlorinated hydrocarbon compounds to wildlife in Montana, 1981-1982. September 1983.
    • Stewart, R.E. and H.A. Kantrud. 1973. Ecological distributions of breeding waterfowl populations in North Dakota. J. Wildl. Manage. 37(1): 39-50.
    • Sullivan, Daniel, 1982, Bait stations as a means of rodenticide presentation to control Columbian ground squirrrels. Technical Rep. 82-3. Sept. 1982.
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    • U.S. Forest Service. 1991. Forest and rangeland birds of the United States: Natural history and habitat use. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Agricultural Handbook 688. 625 pages.
    • USDI Fish and Wildlife Service., 1961, A Detailed report on fish and wildlife resources affected by McNamara Dam and Reservoir, Blackfoot River Project, Montana. June 1961.
    • Waage, Bruce C., 1987, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1987 Field Season. December 1987.
    • Waage, Bruce C., 1988, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1988 Field Season. December 1988.
    • Waage, Bruce C., 1989, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1989 Field Season. December 1989.
    • Waage, Bruce C., 1991, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1990 Field Season. September 1991.
    • Waage, Bruce C., 1992, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1991 Field Season. December 1992.
    • Waage, Bruce C., compiler., 1984, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Rosebud County, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1983 Field Season. June 1984.
    • Waage, Bruce C., compiler., 1985, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Rosebud County, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1984 Field Season. October 1985.
    • Waage, Bruce C., compiler., 1986, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Rosebud County, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1985 Field Season. December 1986.
    • Western Energy Co., Colstrip, MT., 1980, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Report, 1980.
    • Western Energy Co., Colstrip, MT., 1981, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Report, 1981.
    • Western Energy Co., Colstrip, MT., 1982, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Report, 1982.
    • Wetlands West, Inc., Bozeman, MT., and Land & Water Consulting, Inc., Missoula, MT., 2002, Montana Dept. of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Report, Year 2001: Circle Mitigation Site, Circle, Montana. Proj. No. 130091.021. July 2002. In 2001 Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports, Vol. I.
    • Wetlands West, Inc., Bozeman, MT., and Land & Water Consulting, Inc., Missoula, MT., 2002, Montana Dept. of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Report, Year 2001: Ridgeway Wetland Complex with Full Sampling of #9 Ekalaka, Montana. Proj. No. 130091.025. July 2002. In 2001 Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports, Vol. II.
    • Wetlands West, Inc., Bozeman, MT., and Land & Water Consulting, Inc., Missoula, MT., 2002, Montana Dept. of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Report, Year 2001: Roundup Wetland, Roundup, Montana. Proj. No. 130091.031. July 2002. In 2001 Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports, Vol. II.
    • Wetlands West, Inc., Bozeman, MT., and Land & Water Consulting, Inc., Missoula, MT., 2002, Montana Dept. of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Report, Year 2001: Wigeon Reservoir, Alzada, Montana. Proj. No. 130091.028. July 2002. In 2001 Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports, Vol. II.
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Citation for data on this website:
Mallard — Anas platyrhynchos.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABNJB10060
 
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