11 May 2018

Decimal Ducks take to the Horizon Scotland lochan

Mallard Clutch Horizon

The re-naturalisation of the Horizon Scotland lochan is moving apace, on the principle of build and they will come, a duck family has set up home. (Photo coutesy of Biomatrix)

The mallard family have set themselves the mighty challenge of keeping ten pale blue eggs cosy until hatching.

The laying period is very stressful for the female as she lays more than half her body weight in eggs in a couple of weeks. She needs a lot of rest and depends heavily on her mate to protect her and their feeding and loafing areas.

The role of the male is almost over once the clutch is laid. As the last egg is laid, the female starts to incubate. She sits very tightly, and her brown plumage blends her perfectly to the background. She rarely leaves the nest apart from short breaks to feed and stretch her legs.

About 28 days after beginning incubation the eggs hatch together. This takes about 24 hours. The ducklings stay in the nest for at least 10 hours while they dry and get used to using their legs. Then, usually in the early morning, the female leads them to water. 

For more on mallards go to the RSPB website>>