Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
Watch closely as ducks feed: these “dabbling ducks” use their bills to scoop into the water, with tooth-like notches filtering and trapping edible plants and critters in their mouths.
The most common species of waterfowl, males are recognized for bright green heads while females are a mix of brown and white feathers. Both are usually seen in parks and wetlands near ponds or rivers. Like many migratory American birds, the mallard can be found in Mexico or the Caribbean in winter and further north in summer.
These ducks eat a wide range of bugs and plants, depending on the time of the year and where they are living. As the planet warms, mallards are not migrating as far south in the winter, and are traveling further north in the summer to find comfortable places to live. Adding to this is the disappearance of the prairie and wetland breeding grounds of mallards and many other species.
Mallards tend to live happily alongside humans around the world. They are commonly found in human-made parks, farms, and neighborhoods, and are known to be pets to people everywhere. They are not at risk of going extinct from climate change, but birdwatchers, hunters, and others will have to travel farther north to find them, as they are predicted to lose around 75% of their summer range by 2080. Can you think of any local traditions or culture that would change if mallards were no longer found in the region?