Mallards ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) excel at coexisting with us, so sighting them in urban areas or elsewhere is often a dull encounter, until they do something remarkable that changes your opinion of them—forever.
Put a lone male together with a mating pair and you may witness a chaotic aerial chase followed by an odd threesome forced on the female. Apologies for the poor image quality (due to fast motion and the birds moving towards or away from me), but you get the idea.
This is the beginning of the first chase of the poor female duck. Credit: Yalakom
Here you can really see the female trying to escape. Credit: Yalakom
The odd threesome… Credit: Yalakom
The male on the right is trying hard to push the other away, only I’m not sure which one is the original female’s partner. Credit: Yalakom
The female finally got out… Credit: Yalakom
…and the two males remained in the most awkward position for a few seconds. Credit: Yalakom
Soon enough, they stood up and went on with chasing the female. Credit: Yalakom
The helpless female seems to be running for her life! Credit: Yalakom
One male tripped, too much excitement… Credit: Yalakom
Taking a deep breath… Credit: Yalakom
…and on again. Credit: Yalakom
There is no escape. Credit: Yalakom
Finally, the intruder gave up, but only for a little while. Credit: Yalakom
The tumultuous chase repeated several times, though only once did the lone duck manage to get to the female.
This is not unusual duck behavior, on the contrary. Forced copulation in mallards is so common that a term was coined for it, i.e. “intent-rape flight” or “attempted rape flight”. Continue reading