The is the second page showing how the fuzzy little brown and yellow ones grow into their mature colors. Pages 3 and 4 show wing growth and the fifth page documents eclipse plumage changes which happen each year in the male mallards.

Page 2 of 5
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

This duckling is four weeks old. The yellow down has disappeared and feathers have begun growing.
[A duckling walking on white concrete toward the camera. All yellow down on the face has been replaced with beige-brown down. Its orange and brown feet are clearly visible against the concrete. Its body is a mixture of brown down and brown and black-striped feathers. Its bill is a misture of brown and orange.]

Tail feathers are visible in this image and are among the first larger feathers to grow on a duckling.
[A close view of a duckling on the water who is facing the camera. The brown and black-striped feathers on its side are visible as are long brown feathers sticking out from its tail end.]

Feathers are growing in on the front end of the ducklings, but the back end is still fuzzy.
[Six growing ducklings paddle near the water's edge while a seventh stands on land. That seventh one has a very obvious furry back end.]

The little white lines in the middle of their bodies are the start of the flight feathers.
[Three growing ducks stand on grass with their back ends toward the camera. The front half of their bodies look to have complete feathers, but the back end still has some brown fuzz along with a few small feathers. At the edge of the full feathers and the fuzz are stripes of white.]

A bit more of the flight feathers are visible.
[Close side view of a growing duck and its sibling just above it. The white patches are now longer and starting to show a glimpse of blue.]

This girl and her siblings might look like a full-grown mallards, but they still have yet to grow all the back feathers necessary for flight.
[Side view of a female duck standing on the ground with no furry patches visible, but also no blue patch.]

A closer view of developing flight feathers. Only a bit of blue has grown.
[Close view of the left side of a duckling. It has a strip of black in between two strips of white on its wing. A small section of blue is visible at the top end of the black strip.]

More blue is visible.
[A male and female duckling swim side-by-side with the female closer to the camera. Their coloring is similar with the main difference being bill color. The male is yellowish while the female's is orange with some black in it. Both have a patch of blue visible in their wing area.]

These growing ducklings have a full strip of blue, but they were still walkers only at this point.
(I know that because mom was flying across parking lots and traffic while these ones walked.)
[Side view of four mallards walking from left to right in a straight line along a hillside.]

Continue to page 3 to watch the wings grow.

Return to top of page.