Mallard Duck Eggs: Why Are They Abandoned And What You Can Do

Martha Martins
Oct 24, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Nov 12, 2021
Mallard Duck Nest with nine unhatched eggs.

The mallard duck is also called a dabbling duck or a wild duck and is known for breeding throughout subtropical regions.

The male bird of this species is referred to as a drake, and the female bird is referred to as a hen or duck. The diet of mallards consists of vegetation like plant stems, seeds, roots, and a variety of weeds.

Drakes and ducks form pairs during October or November, and by March, the process of nesting begins. This species is not considered to be in danger as mallards have a stable population.

Some of the breeds considered on the verge of extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature are Hawaiian ducks, crested ducks, pink-headed ducks, and three other species with small populations. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 is one of the conservation acts that mallards are protected by in nature.

After reading about the mallard duck bird and the features of its egg, also check out can ducks eat apples, and how often do ducks lay eggs.

Do mallard ducks leave their eggs?

The nests of mallard ducks are typically on the ground, near a pond or garden. The female duck creates a depression in the ground to sit in. After construction, nests are about 1 ft (30.5 cm) in diameter.

Once the eggs are laid, the mother duck will begin plucking her feathers to cover up her eggs. The mallard duck lays up to 13 eggs to form a clutch.

The eggs are laid at intervals of one or two days. Incubation begins only after the eggs are laid. A mother duck sits on her eggs for 20-23 hours every day.

Once the incubation of eggs begins, the development of the embryo starts. The mallard duck will sit on the eggs for 25-29 days. During the laying phase, the season or the weather doesn't affect the clutch. Typically, all the eggs hatch together.

This process happens within 12-24 hours. Females don't leave their eggs unless it's necessary. The female bird only leaves the nest to feed and search for food.

Normally, baby ducks follow their mother duck around ponds or lakes. After hatching, the mother duck will teach her offspring how to find food and feed them when she gets food. If there is too much fussing going around her, she might decide to abandon the nest. Ducks abandon their eggs only if they are not viable.

Nesting sites are normally explored by ducks before they settle down there. Once the female duck has laid a clutch, she will sit on the nest for 28 days, only leaving the nest to eat.

After the eggs are hatched, the ducklings dry and get used to their legs in the nest for 10 hours. Once they get used to walking and feeding, they abandon the nest.

After 21 days, if some eggs are not hatched, the female mallard duck can decide to not hatch them as they are most likely bad.

How long does it take for mallard duck eggs to hatch?

Once the nesting season starts, a pair of ducks starts searching for nesting sites for breeding. If these breeding birds find one, the female starts to gather nesting materials like grass and moss alone. To provide extra insulation and padding, she plucks her breast feathers to cover the eggs.

A female can lay up to 13 eggs in a day. She will start incubation once all the eggs are laid. After that, she begins the process of sitting on her eggs, only leaving them briefly to eat.

Once the incubation begins, it takes about 28 days for the eggs to hatch. The eggs take 24 hours to hatch after the incubation period is over. Ducklings, after hatching, stay in the nest for 10 hours. In this period of time, the young ducks get used to their legs.

They will start swimming, eating, following their parents, and learning from their mother duck. They stay with the mother duck for approximately two months. They then fly away and make their own way.

What color are mallard duck eggs?

The color of mallard duck eggs can range from white to light blue. Sometimes they are also bluish-green. Wild mallard eggs have a creamy white color with no markings.

They are also seen in pale blue and green. When wild mallard ducks lay eggs, they have either white shells or light greenish-blue eggs. The Indian runner and the Ancona are some other breeds of duck that lay green eggs.

The most commonly seen ducks are mallard ducks. Mallards are often seen near or floating on, ponds and lakes. Just like their eggs, mallards have a fascinating appearance too.

Male mallards have shiny iridescent green heads and a white band running around their necks. Their feathers have striking colors like gray and black. The females are mostly brown, though they possess stunning, tall, white feathers and mottled colors on them.

Things To Know About A Mallard Nest

Ducks can be considered lovely birds if you want to share outdoor space with them. Mallards are found in wetland habitats. They mostly nest on the ground. The nesting season starts in March. Mallards' nests are naturally covered in hanging grass and twigs or other vegetation. The nest bowl is 1 ft (0.3 m) in diameter.

Pairs search for nesting places together and prefer floating mats of vegetation. They start to look for a nesting site in March.

Some of the impromptu sites used for nesting by ducks are planters and flower boxes. Large and hollow snags are also used for nesting. They are also known as "cavity nesters" because of their preference for such sites.

Normally, 13 eggs form a clutch. You should not touch a mallard or her eggs, as it's considered illegal to disturb them. Once the eggs are hatched, the role of the male duck is over. He gradually loses interest in them and joins other males to molt.

After hatching, ducklings need their mother for 50-60 days as they cannot survive alone. They depend on their mother for warmth and food. After this period is over, the nest is abandoned and the ducklings fly away to live an independent life.

Build A Nest Structure For A Mallard

Ducks are the most popular and familiar birds. Although there are a variety of species of ducks around the world, these birds require a specific habitat to survive.

Because of that, their habitat needs are not met in a backyard or a garden. These birds might be attracted to yards nearby.

Mallard ducks nest in one that they have built. These nests are about 1 ft (0.3 m) across, with a bowl for the eggs that is 1-6 in (2.5-15.2 cm) deep and 6-9 in (15.2-22.9 cm) across.

If you want to attract nesting ducks, you may place large containers in your backyard for them. Typically, to meet the survival requirements of a bird, you must provide them with adequate food, shelter, and water.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for mallard duck eggs then why not take a look at duck beak or mallard duck facts?

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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