Duclair Mallard with Ducklings and Red-Breasted Merganser

Stepping out on my balcony several evenings ago just before sunset, I first spotted a mallard at the base of our osprey nest.  This different looking mallard is seen around here in the spring and summer.   After some googling, I further identified it as a Duclair or White-bibbed Mallard (not quite sure if both names is the same one type).  It is supposedly a hybrid of a domestic mallard and originated from France.  I wasn’t able to identify the difference between a male and female.  In fact, I found very little other information, sorry.  Anyway, the visiting mallard had a brown body, brown wings, white-bibbed neck, and dark green iridescent head.  He/she was swimming along the berm and then quickly took flight!

Duclair or White-Bibbed Mallard

After following his/her flight, I quickly looked up to see if a possible eagle was in the sky.  But nothing.  I scanned the berm again and spotted a female Red-Breasted Merganser entering the low-tide pooled area at the base of the osprey nest.  Cool!

Female Red-Breasted Merganser

As she swam along, the merganser was skimming the water with her beak just below the surface.  After a bit, she would rear up and shake her head!

Female Red-Breasted Merganser – Shaking off excess water!

She would skim some more and then rear & shake again, continuing along the berm to my left and out of sight.  A couple of poses of her with reflections!

Female Red-Breasted Merganser

Female Red-Breasted Merganser

I retreated inside for a few minutes, and then went back out to the sound of peeping.  The Duclair Mallard was back, off to my left with a total of nine ducklings.  Super cool!  I had thought this might have been a male but maybe he’s a she?

Duclair or White-Bibbed Mallard with with eight of nine ducklings (I missed one in the shot!)  The bottom three are practically running on top of the water. Cute!

Duclair or White-bibbed Mallard with nine ducklings

Bravely, the little ducklings were wide-spread, feeding and running around.  Some looked identical to the parent, others were light tan.  When the parent called out, they’d all come quickly to her, and then they’d take off again.  It was quite cute.

To the left of the scurrying ducklings, coming towards them was the female Red-Breasted Merganser.  The ducklings were not fearful of the merganser as she made her way through them and towards & alongside the parent mallard.

Duclair or White-bibbed Mallard and Red-Breasted Merganser

All seemed nice and friendly, and I was shooting, thinking how nice…..until the merganser reared up again and began to shake.

In a split-second flash, the mallard turned and attacked the merganser!

Duclair or White-bibbed Mallard attacking a Red-Breasted Merganser

After all the splashing, the mallard surfaced, looking around for the merganser.

Mallard looking for Merganser

As the merganser surfaced, the mallard spotted her…..


and with fury, flew and pounced again at the merganser who was trying desperately to get away.

The mallard missed the merganser, who hightailed it out of there!

With the merganser out of sight, the mallard called to the ducklings and declared victory!

And with that, the mallard took the ducklings off to my left and out of sight!

Duclair or White-bibbed Mallard and Nine Ducklings

All in 12 minutes of photo-op fun!  I hope you enjoyed, and thanks for stopping by!

34 thoughts on “Duclair Mallard with Ducklings and Red-Breasted Merganser

    • I could sit all day and watch a bird’s or animal’s behavior. Just seeing their activity to survive is fascinating, but also seeing how they just enjoy life through bonding or flying. Really makes you feel good inside. 🙂 Thanks NatureSnippets!

      • I wrote and illustrated weekly nature articles for several local newspapers for 10 years. I spent so much time alone hiking, camping, sitting in the variety of habitats. It’s so amazing what can be observed, and the bonding that results from spending that quality time in nature.

  1. Donna, great job showing this mallard and her family and the Merganser. You sure get cool waterfowl to view and photo. Love today’s blog…a big thanks!

    • You’re welcome Joleen! I continue to get amazed myself on the species that are right there for me to shoot. Sometimes I can see them coming at enough a distance that it becomes an easy set-up, it’s up to me to get the shot. 🙂

  2. What drama! Thanks for sharing such interesting photos and the commentary to go along with it! Never know just what to expect from your balcony. The ducklings must have been such fun to watch.

    • I sometimes walk out and almost faint seeing something going on and I didn’t even know it, lol. It would be a treat to really have the time to sit, watch, shoot & enjoy for several weeks at different times of the year to really see what I’m missing! 😉

    • When she made her way around the berm, I was so hoping she’d head to the calm water area, and she did. But she wouldn’t slow down so I was lucky! Thanks Eastern Babe!

  3. I was surprised by the drama between the merganser and mallard. We only see the red-breaster merganser here during migration, but it was neat seeing your photos.

  4. i think you have photos of two different ducks. the first mallard type clearly had the male tale curls and the the second duck does not. maybe a pair?

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