I dedicate this page to the momma mallards who normally have most of the responsibility for the energized ducklings who break free from the egg shells. The last page will highlight specific body parts.

Female mallards are so good-looking that even the males morph to look like them during the year (photos of this are in the time progression: ducklings-to-mallards section of the website). The difference between the males and females and among each of the females is the color of the bill. Between the bills and the number of ducklings, I was usually able to determine if the duck I photographed was a "regular" or one new to the area.

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This momma has five ducklings. One is in the water in front of her while the other four are under her which is why she looks so big.
Nothing like having mom sit on your head to help keep you warm and safe from predators your first few days out of the egg.
[One tiny duckling swims at the water's edge while momma is about a foot away in the grass.]

This momma has a very orange bill.
[Mother mallard in the water with six ducklings in two rows swimming in front of her.]

This mom has an orange bill with scattered dark splotches on it.
[Mother mallard swimming toward the left with all five of her ducklings swimming in a group on her left side. ]

This mom has only has a very thin section of orange at the bottom edge of her bill. The rest is nearly black except for the tip which is close in color to that of male mallards.
[Two views of the head of the same female mallard. The left image is looking down at her which nearly hides all of what little orange there is on her bill. The right image is viewing the right side of her head from the back and the orange at the edge of the bill is visible. ]

This momma has a greyish bill with dark speckles.
[Mother mallard in the water with seven ducklings so close they are touching as the feed from the shallow water.]

Close view of a female mallard's bill with the irregular-shaped dark spots on the lighter background.
[Front side profile of a mallard's head, neck, and bill.]

Different momma which I knew moreso because of the age and number of ducklings as this one's bill pattern is similar to the one in the prior photo.
[Close profile view of the head and neck of a mallard standing in the grass.]

This momma has a distinctive light-colored patch just behind her eye.
[Momma bent down to eat something from the grass at the edge of the water while four ducklings are in the water above her and two ducklings below her. The light-colored patch almost looks like a one inch swath of white eye shadow makeup.]

In 2014 I saw one mother mallard who chased off another mallard with newborn ducklings so her much larger duckling could get the food in the area. In 2015 I saw this pair of mother mallards who may have been related because not only were they peaceful with each other, it seemed as if the new mom with the ducklings on the hillside was showing the other mother (who's much larger ducklings were on the other side of the channel) her new kids, "Look what I made!"
[TWo female mallards swim in the water near the edge of a bank on which 10 newborn ducklings stand in a group. ]

In spring 2017 I saw this momma mallard who seemed to have a white patch on the back of her neck.
[A female mallard swims away from the camera with two younger ducklings swimmin at her right rear. There is quite a bit of brownish growth floating atop the water. ]

Only after examining the photos did I realize the white color was underneath feathers exposed because something took a chunk out of the back of her head-neck.
I spliced two side-view photos to show the unnatural shape of her head when compared the other momma mallards on this page.
[The female mallard sits on the grass in both images. On the left she faces the left with one duckling walking to the right. There is a noticeable patch of white at the back of her head level with her eye. The shape of her head is a bit obscured due to the location of the duckling. Her head is turned to the right on the right photo and the outline of her brown head is clearly defined against light green grass. While no white feathers are visible, there is a definite indentation where a chunk of feathers on her head are missing. ]

Continue to page 7 to see mallard body parts up close.

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