European Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos): Recognising European Mallards
  • Male and female European Mallards look very different: the male is grey with a metallic green head, a brown chest and a white ring around the neck; the female is mottled brown with a dark brown stripe through the eye.
  • Mallards originally came from Europe, Asia and North America. They are the commonest duck in the world.
  • Mallards are the ancestor of domestic ducks like the large white Aylesbury Duck and the small white Dutch Quacker.








European Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos): From introduction to invasion
  • Mallards were introduced to South Africa in the 1940s.
  • These ducks compete with indigenous ducks like the Yellowbilled Duck for space and food. They are very aggressive and can chase indigenous ducks away from their habitat.
  • They crossbreed with indigenous ducks producing many fertile offspring (one duck can lay up to 320 eggs per year!). These offspring have features of both parents, and are obviously not true indigenous ducks. This genetic contamination threatens the survival of indigenous ducks. The Mexican Duck is now extinct because all ducks are Mallard hybrids.
  • Mallards and their hybrid offspring can fly to other places and crossbreed with indigenous ducks in other regions.
  • These aggressive ducks also drown indigenous ducklings.








European Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos): Controlling European Mallards
Yellow-billed duck
  • Mallards may be kept by registered zoos but not by the general public. They are declared invaders and must be removed from the wild.
  • Mallards are usually controlled by being fed poisoned food. However, the public often opposes the removal of these ducks because they do not understand the threat posed by these attractive birds.
  • The City of Cape Town, with local residents, is releasing indigenous ducks onto water bodies in the City in an attempt to replace alien ducks with indigenous species (e.g. at Die Oog in Bergvliet and dams in Durbanville).








European Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Terrestrial plants:      Aquatic plants Terrestrial animals: Aquatic animals
Kikuyu Grass Water Hyacinth Argentine Ant Largemouth Black Bass
Port Jackson Willow Parrot's Feather European Starling Common Carp
Rooikrans Spanish Reed Feral Cat European Mallard