Mallard Mute Swan Quail. Vita S. (Nikopol, Ukraine). Mallard.
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Vita S. (Nikopol, Ukraine)
The Mallard is the ancestor of almost all of the varieties of domestic ducks. Ducks belong to the subfamily Anatinae of the waterfowl family Anatidae. The wild Mallard and Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) are believed to be the ancestors of all domestic ducks.
The name is derived from the Old French malart or mallart "wild drake", although its ultimate derivation is unclear. It may be related to an Old High German masculine proper name Madelhart, clues lying in the alternate English forms "maudelard" or "mawdelard".
The Mallard is 56–65 centimetres (22–26 in) long (of which the body makes up around two-thirds), has a wingspan of 81–98 centimetres (32–39 in), and weighs 0.9–1.2 kilograms (32–42 oz). The breeding male is unmistakable, with a bright bottle-green head, black rear end and a yellowish orange (can also contain some red) bill tipped with black (as opposed to the black/orange bill in females). It has a white collar which demarcates the head from the purple-tinged brown breast, grey brown wings, and a pale grey belly. The dark tail has white borders. The female Mallard is a mottled light brown, like most female dabbling ducks, and has buff cheeks, eyebrow, throat and neck with a darker crown and eye-stripe. However, both the female and male Mallards have distinct purple speculum edged with white, prominent in flight or at rest (though temporarily shed during the annual summer moult). Upon hatching, the plumage coloring of the duckling is yellow on the underside and face (with streaks by the eyes) and black on the backside (with some yellow spots) all the way to the top and back of the head. Its legs and bill are also black but they gradually change color with age. As it nears the end of the fledgling period, the duckling is now a juvenile and its plumage becomes drab, looking more like the female (though its plumage is more streaked), but its gender can be easily distinguished by the coloring of its bill: Black/orange for females and yellow for males plus a slightly reddish breast. During the final period of maturity leading up to adulthood, the plumage of female juveniles remains the same while the plumage of male juveniles slowly changes to its recognizable colors. This also applies to adult Mallard males near the end of the molting period when they transition out of their non-breeding (eclipse) plumage.
Anas platyrhynchos male female quadrat.
The Mute Swan is one of the heaviest flying birds, with males (known as cobs) averaging about 12 kilograms (26 lb) and the slightly smaller females (known as pens) weighing about 9 kilograms (20 lb). An unusually big Polish cob weighed almost 23 kilograms (51 lb), surpassing the longer-bodied Trumpeter Swan to make it the heaviest waterfowl ever recorded. Its size, orange-reddish bill and white plumage make this swan almost unmistakable at close quarters. Compared to the other Northern white swans, the Mute Swan can easily be distinguished by its curved neck and orange, black-knobbed bill. Unlike most other Northern swan species (who usually inhabit only pristine wetlands without regular human interference), the Mute Swan has, in some parts of the world, become habituated and fearless towards humans. Such swans are often seen at close range in urban areas with bodies of water.
The Mute Swan is less vocal than the noisy Whooper and Bewick's Swans; the most familiar sound associated with Mute Swan is the vibrant throbbing of the wings in flight. This sound is unique to the species, and can be heard from a range of 1 to 2 kilometres (0.6 to 1 mi), indicating its value as a contact sound between birds in flight. They do however make a variety of grunting, hoarse whistling, and snorting noises, especially in communicating with their cygnets, and usually hiss at predators trying to enter their territory.
The familiar pose with neck curved back and wings half raised, known as busking, is a threat display, mainly shown by males but also females to a small extent. Black Swans and Whooper Swans are less aggressive and are not as defensive against predators. Trumpeter Swans will sometimes leave their nests if threatened. Mute Swans will attack land animals in defense of their families, during the period before fledging of their offspring[vague] (which, at six months, is longer than that of most other birds). Populations in western Europe were largely exterminated by hunting pressure in the 13th-19th centuries, with the exception of semi-domesticated birds maintained as poultry by large landowners. Better protection in the late 19th and early 20th centuries allowed birds to return to most or all of their former range. More recently in the period from about 1960 up to the early 1980s, numbers declined significantly again in many areas, primarily due to lead poisoning from birds swallowing discarded fishing sinkers made from lead. After lead weights were replaced by other less toxic alternatives, Mute Swan numbers increased again rapidly.
Quail is a collective name for several genera of mid-sized birds in the pheasant family Phasianidae. New World quails (family Odontophoridae) and buttonquails (family Turnicidae) are not closely related but named for their similar appearance and behaviour.
Quails are small, plump terrestrial birds. They are seed eaters but will also take insects and similar small prey. They nest on the ground and are capable of short, rapid bursts of flight. Some species such as the Japanese and Common Quail are migratory and fly for long distances. Some quail are farmed in large numbers. The Japanese Quail (or coturnix quail) is kept mostly to produce eggs.