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Gender differences in food foraging behaviour in mallard duck

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Materials and methods.
  3. Results.
  4. Discussion.

The species Anas platyrhynchos, or the common Mallard duck, is a very well-documented organism, being found in virtually all parts of the world, with the exception of Antarctica. Like most other dabbling ducks belonging to the Anatinae family, the mallard duck is known to be noisy (or gregarious), particularly the female when exhibiting a ?decrescendo call?, or a call which attracts other ducks, or ducklings (Rogers, 2001). The term ?dabbling? is applied as most of the ducks merely dabble near the surface of the water to feed, rarely exhibiting diving behavior, feeding predominantly upon aquatic plant matter, arthropods, gastropods, and perhaps human-provided snacks of bread.

[...] Results: Overall, after observing the ducks for some time, it became more or less obvious that the female appeared more frantic in her foraging behavior than did the drake. Not only was a larger proportion of in-lead and dabbling behavior exhibited by the female, she also appeared to swim at a faster rate than the male overall. It also appeared as if she was the one who indicated direction around the puddle, though both of the ducks continually circumnavigated the banks in a quite meticulous fashion. [...]

[...] It is a fact that mallards engage in a behavior known as ?rape-flight?, where a number of males, who were not able to form a pair bond at the appropriate seasonal time, would actually chase, and procreate, with fleeing mallards even other mallard drakes (Bagemihl, 1999). In fact, one scientist even published a report which describes his experiences after discovering a pursued drake mallard flew into his window, killed itself, and was subsequently engaged by his pursuer for some time (Moeliker, 2003). [...]

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