Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
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ANECDOTES

  Mallard
 
 

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  Order Anseriformes - Waterfowl
   Family Anatidae - Ducks, Geese, and Swans
      Subfamily Anatinae - True Ducks
         Tribe Anatini - Dabbling Ducks
  Waterfowl vary in size - from teal to swans. They all have webbed feet and dense, waterproof plumage. Most nest on the ground and the nest is lined with down plucked by the female from her breast. Except for two small groups not found in North America, all belong to one (or two) families.
Ducks, Geese, and Swans are waterfowl with their bill finely serrated or grooved on the edge. Their tongue is fleshy. Their front toes are webbed. Males have a functional penis. They are strong fliers and many migrate long distances. 
True Ducks are sexually dimorphic. The female incubates and cares for the young - the male usually deserts early. Ducks undergo a simultaneous molt of their flight feathers and are flightless until the flight feathers of the alternate plumage regrow. Thus, males wear their nuptial plumage on the winter grounds where pair formation occurs in most species. 
Dabbling Ducks all belong to the genus Anas. They feed on or near the surface or "upend," tilting their body vertically to feed on aquatic vegetation.     
 
Dark Dabblers
Bear Island Wildlife Management Area
Donnelley Wildlife Management Area
     
  Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
 
  Cornell     USGS     Wiki     ToL     EoL
        WINTER - Rare (local) / Rare
            LAKES, IMPOUNDMENTS (fresh water)
MORE PICTURES
 
   The Mallard is probably the most familiar duck to many. It is found in any wet habitat from parks to ponds. It is also our largest dabbling duck. Males have a yellow bill, a glossy green head, a white neck band, a buffy chest and pale belly. Females have an orange bill, often with a dark center, and an eye-line. Their legs are orange. Both have bold white bars in front of and on the trailing edge of the speculum (secondaries extending beyond the coverts).     
Mallard
     
Mallard pair. Bear Island WMA
   
  RANGE: The Mallard breeds broadly across North America from the East coast and southern Quebec, north to the Arctic Ocean in NWT, west to the coast of Alaska and the Aleutians, south to northern Mexico and east across the Gulf coast to Florida. It withdraws from northern parts of its range (most of Canada, the Rockies, and the Great Lakes) in winter and wanders south to central Mexico. The species also breeds from North Africa to India and in Eurasia, China, and Borneo.
  BREEDING: Monogamous but mates may switch yearly. One brood (rarely 2). The female builds a shallow, open nest, usually near water. She uses cattails, reeds and grass and places it where it is concealed by surrounding vegetation. It is usually on the ground but may be on a stump or tree hollow. She adds down as she completes her clutch of 7-10 eggs. The female incubates for 26-30 days. The male deserts and joins male flocks after the first week of incubation and molts. The young are precocial and leave the nest within a day after hatching. They are led to water by the female. They are able to fly after 52-60 days. They are cared for by the female.
   During molt, the female is flightless for about 32 days (male 34). They emerge in their alternate plumage ready to form new mate attachments for the following year.
  DIET: Mallards feed on seeds and shoots, aquatic vegetation, grain, acorns, insects, and aquatic invertebrates.
  VOICE: Their voice is the archetypical "quack, quack, quack" of ducks.
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Seabrook. Kiawah - rare fall through spring (winter visitor). Edisto - winter.
      Coastal - Common (local) winter visitor. Hilton Head - common permanent resident. Cape Romain - common/absent/common/common.          Huntington Beach - uncommon, October - April.
      Caw Caw - uncommon/absent/uncommon/uncommon. ACE - occasional/absent/uncommon/common.
   CBC: ACE 88, 128, 36, 7, 114, 33, 49, 264; Charleston 23, 15, 32, 8, 2, 11, 0, 35;
            Hilton Head 4, 3, 4, 10, 13, 4, 19, 16; Sun City/Okatie 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 2, 1, 5;
            McClellanville702, 39, 39, 94, nc, 3, 71, 110; Winyah Bay x, x,  14, 20, 27, 94, 60, 99;
               Litchfield/Pawleys 40, 47, 132, 120, 1596, 198, 43, 18.
   SCBBA: Confirmed or possible breeding: Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Charleston, Georgetown, and Horry Counties - scattered reports. Mallards breeding in SC are likely domesticated stocks.
   P&G: Abundant winter visitor (summer status uncertain due to introductions). Breeding records in upper coastal plain.
   Avendex: 1 record.
   Potter: Common winter resident in freshwater habitats. Mallards breed locally in all areas of the Carolinas - most have reverted to the wild from introduced stock. Refuge managers are concerned about these resident populations because Mallards will interbreed with Mottled Ducks and may alter that population.
  ●   I have not seen Mallards on Seabrook but they are included on the island list and occur in surrounding areas in winter. Rare? Lost or vagrant individuals? (Mallards are seldom shot in nearly management areas - teal appear to be the more common winter dabbler along our coast.)
       
    Banner - Mallard pair swimming. Bear Island WMA.
       
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KEY:    ■ Seabrook list     □ Kiawah list