The female mallard can be distinguished by her light brown color.
Her body as well as her head is brown with purple coloring in her wings and a distinctive dark eye stripe.
They also have an orange bill with orange-colored legs and orange feet. They do not have the green heads male mallards carry or the trademark curly tail.
Hens will fight when protecting their young or showing off to males.
Hens are smaller than the male mallard (drakes). Mallards live in wetlands, rivers, ponds and marshy areas. They eat water plants and also have been known to eat frogs and small fish. They feed day and night.
Hens are outgoing and quite gregarious. They tolerate the presence of humans. Female mallards use a quacking sound to communicate.
But don't threaten the babies. Hens will fight when they are protecting their young. They also will fight with one another when they are trying to show off to males.
erry Beth Ryan, a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, can be reached at www.merrybethryanphotography.com, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (941) 544-5023.
Good fliers and even better swimmers, hens are also are known as puddle or dabbling ducks. They search for food on or near the water's surface. Many times you will see just their tails up in the air as their heads are submerged just below the surface of the water looking for food.
Mallards fly in small groups of 10 to 20 usually but their flocks can swell to more than 100. They fly in V-shaped formations.
It is a beautiful sight when mallards are spotted flying above. They can be quite noisy so they many times you can hear them coming as they fly over above you.
Many of us have memories as a child going to feed the ducks at the ponds or lakes in our hometowns. Even as adults we enjoy seeing these beautiful ducks. They allow us to get rather close to them so it is easy to feed them and capture some great photos.