Head, and upper part of the neck, deep green; below the green a white collar: four middle tail-feathers (in the male) recurved.
A. Boschas, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. ii. p. 835. Common Duck, Mont. Orn. Diet, & Supp. Common Wild Duck, Selb. Must. vol. ii. p. 305. pls. 50 & 50*. Mallard, Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. It. p. 325. (Trachea,) Linn. Trans, vol. iv. pl. 13. f. 10.
Entire length twenty-four inches: length of the bill (from the forehead) two inches three lines, (from the gape) two inches seven lines; of the tarsus one inch eleven lines; of the middle toe, nail included, two inches five lines; of the tail three inches five lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing ten inches nine lines: breadth, wings extended, three feet.
(Male). Head, and upper half of the neck, deep emerald-green, approaching to black on the cheeks and forehead; beneath the green a white collar; rest of the neck, and breast, dark chestnut; upper part of the back, wing-coverts, and primary quills, cinereous brown of different tints, the first with fine transverse lines of gray; rump, upper and under tail-coverts, blackish green; scapulars, flanks, abdomen, and sides of the rump, grayish white, with fine transverse undulating lines of clove-brown; some of the outer scapulars chestnut, with the transverse lines darker; speculum deep Prussian-blue, with purple and green reflections; bounded above and below by a double border, the inner one velvet-black, the outer one white: tail grayish brown, all the feathers bordered with white: bill greenish yellow: irides reddish brown: legs orange. (Female). Smaller: all the upper parts umber-brown, of different shades, the feathers edged with pale reddish brown: head and neck with dusky streaks; throat whitish; breast and under parts yellowish gray, obscurely spotted and streaked with brown: speculum as in the male: four central tail-feathers straight: bill greenish gray. The young males, till after the Jirst moult, resemble the females. (Egg). Smooth; greenish white: long, diam. two inches three lines and a half; trans, diam. one inch seven lines.
A common species in most parts of the country during the winter months, some few remaining to breed. Frequents lakes, marshes, and rivers. Nest generally placed on the ground amongst aquatic herbage; sometimes in trees. Eggs ten or twelve in number. The young are called Flappers. Food, insects, slugs, grain, and aquatic vegetables. Obs. The Domestic Duck derives its origin from this species.
* (19). A. adunca, Linn. (Hook-billed Duck). Lath. Syn. vol. iii. p. 495. Don. Brit. Birds, vol. ix. pl. 218.
Differs from the Common Mallard in the bill being broader, longer, and inclined more downwards at the tip. In other respects similar. It does not seem to be satisfactorily determined, whether it be a peculiar species, or only a variety of that last described; probably, however, the latter. Not uncommon in the domestic state.