Mallards Courting Behavior

Mallards court in winter and since they are sometimes close to civilization it’s easy to observe. In this 3 minute video I took on a gray December 23rd you can see several displays performed by more than ten males around two females. Because of the bad weather the quality is not so great.

I took some stills from the movie (sorry for the bad quality) to explain the displays as far as I know them.

All that the female does in the video is bob her head up and down.

The Drakes shake their heads:

arch their necks:

lift their tail and lower the beak into the water to spit some  (usually towards the female):

and do the head-up-tail-up followed by swimming with their neck outstretched:

I tried to point out some displays within the movie by adding some text. I hope that helps. At the end of the movie a couple does the simultaneous pumping of the heads.

See more bird blogs from around the world on Bird Photography Weekly

~ by Natalie on December 27, 2010.

12 Responses to “Mallards Courting Behavior”

  1. I LOVE the video. It’s wonderful to be able to see such a display in action!!

  2. Yes you are spot on about Mallards and other birds too. I had Great Tits singing on Boxing Day – birds are so clever.

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  3. Tis the season! Nice video.

  4. Great video interesting to watch.

  5. I love mallards. Thanks for sharing your video.

  6. I find this truly fascinating. Thanks for putting the comments in the video – it really helped a lot. Otherwise, I think the way the water was moving had almost a hypnotic effect on me. Thanks so much for putting this together!

  7. Wish you a wonderful new year! Winter is uniquely beautiful isn’t it?

  8. I love when they bob heads. Such fun to watch 🙂

  9. The video and still photos are both so interesting. I have never watched behavior like that. I must try to see and photograph more ducks this year!

  10. Great video of the Mallard courting behavior Natalie. Ducks are so amazing to watch. Many have elaborate courting behaviors. I hope to see some in February when I have reserved a photo blind at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Nice job with the explanation of the rituals too!

  11. …very interesting post! Great video as well. I’ll have to watch our flocks a little closer now.

  12. I’ll have to start paying more attention to the local mallards. I suppose I never noticed mating behavior before.

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