This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
This is a handsome bird, 24 inches in length to the end of the tail when full grown; the extent of the wings is 86 inches, and the weight is about 3 pounds. The male is marked as follows: The bill, greenish-yellow; ins, dark brown; feet, >range-red; head and neck, deep green, with a ring of white about the middle of the neck; fore part of the chest, chestnut brown; fore part of back, yellowish-brown and grey; the rest of the back, brownish-black; the rump, black, with purplish and green shading; the wings are greyish brown, with a "beauty spot" of purple and green, edged with black and white on ten or more of the secondaries; breasts, sides, and belly, pale grey, shaded with dark waves.
The female has the bill black and orange; the iris and feet as in the male; the upper parts generally pale brown, spotted with dusky brown; the head striped or narrowly streaked; the wings and beauty spots nearly as in the male; the under parts dull olive spotted with brown; length, 22 inches; weight, about 2 1/2 lbs. Mallards breed mostly in the far north and begin to come south in August, staying for a month or more in the Northwestern States and Canada, where vast numbers are sometimes taken. On one occasion 1,365 ducks were killed in 17 days' shooting by one man, with a single barrel, muzzle-loading gun. The rivers and lakes of the Northwestern States furnish unlimited sport in the spring when the birds are on the way to their breeding places, and in the fall when they are returning south, During the winter the open overflowed timber lands of the Southern and Southwestern States are fairly alive with these birds. A great number of them are shot at this season in the large corn fields of the more southern of the Western States, where they stay to feed upon the scattered corn.
While shooting ducks in the corn fields, the sportsman will pick up occasionally a few quail or prairie chickens, and should be accompanied by a good dog.