Mallard Preening: A Healthy Habit

I was hiking ACFL North and stopped at the lookout area on Big Beaver Pond where this mallard was preening. It was a “wait for it” moment, wanted to get the wing stretch. I had a very small window to shoot though, the mallard did a wonderful job staying right where I needed him. He was preening away for some time and would keep looking at me. I was able to get a great series of captures of the grooming process.

You never get a chance to really see the beauty of the process of preening, it happens so quickly. The series of images lets you really enjoy the details of preening.

ACFL North, Anacortes, WA
Anacortes Community Forest Lands
Useful information here:

Preening is an important part of a mallard’s daily routine. It helps to keep their feathers clean and in good condition, and it also helps to remove parasites and other unwanted organisms.

Mallards preen by using their bills to rub oil from their preen glands onto their feathers. This oil helps to waterproof the feathers and make them smooth. Mallards also use their bills to clean their feathers of dirt, debris, and parasites.

Preening is a social activity for mallards. They often preen each other, and they may also preen themselves in groups.

Preening is an important part of a mallard’s health and well-being. If you see a mallard preening itself, you can be sure that it is a healthy bird.

When they are done preening they will stretch to get the feather back in place.

Here are some additional facts about mallard preening:

  • Mallard preening can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.
  • Mallards preen their feathers more often during the breeding season, when they are trying to attract a mate.
  • Mallards preen their feathers less often during the winter, when they are trying to conserve energy.

Mallard preening is a fascinating behavior to watch. It is a sign of a healthy bird and an important part of their daily routine. It also helps them achieve optimal flight.

ACFL North, Anacortes, Washington
Anacortes Community Forest Lands

For information about the ACFL : Friends of the Forest

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