What Do Mallard Ducks Eat
Did you know that nearly all pet ducks are descendants of the Mallard duck? You can recognize a male Mallard duck by its vibrant blue or green colored head, and female Mallard ducks have light brown coloring. All Mallards are dabbling ducks, which means that only dip their heads under the water's surface to get food. Dabbling ducks find food on the land or in shallow water. So what do Mallard ducks eat?
Mallard ducks are omnivores, so they have a lot of plants and animals to choose from when it is time to eat. Some of the vegetarian entrees for Mallards are water elm seeds, oak seeds and hackberry seeds. Mallard ducks also eat wild rice, corn, wheat and barley. Other plants in a Mallard's diet include bulrushes, primrose and willow.
Insects such as beetles, flies and dragonflies are tasty treats for Mallard ducks. Mallards also eat mollusks, small fish and fish eggs. On the water's surface, Mallard ducks also feast on frogs, tadpoles, worms and snails. These types of foods provide the protein and fat nutrients a Mallard duck needs in its diet.
The amount of plant and animal matter a Mallard duck eats depends on the time of year. During the breeding season, both male and female Mallards tend to eat more plants than animals. However, when the female Mallard duck lay eggs, her diet changes to include more animal life than plant matter. In general, Mallards typically eat more plants than animals, and they also eat more plants in the fall and winter seasons.
Food selection also has to do with the shape and style of the Mallard's bill. A Mallard duck's bill is round and flat, and the length of the bill is about the same as the length of the Mallard's neck. When Mallard ducks are dabbling in the water, they use their bills as sensors to determine what food is nearby. For this reason, the edges of a Mallard's bill are soft; however Mallards also have a nail-like feature at the tip of their bills that is used to snag food.