The mallard

Writer: Isaac Cohen  |  Editor: Liu Minxia  |  From: Shenzhen Daily

Members of a mallard family are seen on a lake in Bijia Mountain Park. Photos by Isaac Cohen

The mallard

Although small in numbers, the beautiful mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is probably the only resident duck you can find in Shenzhen, most likely in Bijia Mountain Park. A mallard family has lived there for many years.


Mallards are widely distributed in almost every continent in the world, including Asia. Despite their abundance in some parts of South China, the number of this species in Shenzhen is way too small.


A mallard swims on a lake in Bijia Mountain Park.

Males are easily distinguishable with a bright green-colored head, a big yellow beak, a brown chest adorned by a white collar, and a white-feathered belly. The wings are a combination of colors, especially beautiful when spread — some blue, black and even purple feathers can be seen. Females are light brown, with paler beaks and mottled patterns over the body. The orange-colored legs of these fascinating ducks are palmed, helping them swim.


Mallards prefer wetlands, and they are always seen near water bodies.


A flock of mallards is seen by a lake in Bijia Mountain Park. 

They are often seen swimming and foraging near the plants on the shores, where they feed primarily on plants but also on animals such as fish, frogs, or lizards.


Mallard ducks are known to build large nests, where they can lay several eggs and form prominent families with up to 13 offspring. Females primarily take care of the ducklings.


A mallard swims on a lake in Bijia Mountain Park.

However, the resident family of mallards in our city doesn’t seem to be reproducing successfully, and their numbers are not increasing, making it relevant to preserve their habitat and wellbeing.


Our beloved mallards in Bijia Mountain Park are sadly exposed to a strong impact of human activities, including being fed by park visitors.


A mallard is seen in Bijia Mountain Park.

This “kindness” affects their natural behavior and reduces their chances of survival in the wild. It is essential to elevate consciousness and to educate the public to help preserve not only mallards but also all the other species that inhabit our beautiful Shenzhen.