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Name: Irving
Status: other
Age: other
Location: FL
Country: N/A
Date: 6/28/2005

For the past 6 years I have lived on a lake in Jacksonville, Fl., where I've been feeding a number of wild Mallard ducks. I raised one female from day of hatching and have interacted with her and her siblings for the past 3 years. This past year, (2004-05), I have witnessed many of the males, (drakes), visually changing into females. What is happening?

Mallard drakes and some other species molt to a drab "eclipse" plumage in the summer, then molt back again to breeding plumage in fall. During molt they may be unable to fly for a few weeks and stay mostly out of sight.

J. Elliott

Mallard drakes assume the camouflage plumage that is common found with the females during the time they are unable to fly for protective reasons. Predators would be able to find them easily at the time they are most vunerable.

Steve Sample

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