Common Name: Mallard, Mallard Duck
Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos
While mallards can be identified in flight from their plumage and colorful speculums, they can also be identified by their flight pattern. Like many dabbling ducks, they have a rapid, almost frantic wing beat and they do not regularly pause or glide. When startled, mallards will take flight either from the water or from land, and they are capable of landing on water or land as well. They often follow waterways in flight, staying low to the surface initially before gaining altitude.
Flying mallards are most often seen singly or in pairs, though in winter when these birds for large roosting colonies a flock of mallards in flight is not uncommon. They do not, however, have the strong flight formation that geese will have. They can be quite vocal in flight, and honking or quacking will often accompany even a single flying mallard.
Photo © Keith