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common name for wild and domestic waterfowl of the family Anatidae, which also includes geese and swans. It is hunted and bred for its meat, eggs, and feathers. Strictly speaking, duck refers to the female and drake to the male.
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(Anas platyrhynchos) a bird of the family Anatidae. It measures about 60 cm long and weighs 0.8 to 1.4 kg. In the spring the head and neck of the male are dark green, and there are purplish blue specula on the wings. The female is of dark brownish color. In the summer the male resembles the female.
The mallard is distributed in Europe, Asia (except the south), and North America. In the USSR it is found from the southern borders to the arctic circle (in Eastern Siberia it does not reach the arctic circle). The mallard flies south or southwest for the winter (isolated individuals may winter on unfrozen bodies of water). It nests on the ground, on hillocks, and sometimes beneath trees; more rarely it nests on trees, in hollows, or in artificial nesting places. A clutch has eight to 14 eggs; most often it is ten or 11. The female incubates the eggs for 26 days. Mallards feed on algae, seeds, insects, small crustaceans, and mollusks. With the ripening of cereal grains, they fly out for night feedings in the fields; in some areas they damage rice plantings. Mallards are game birds. The domestic duck is descended from the mallard.