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Joan Wiitanen

Tear Lake, Stanton Township, MI, United States


I wasn’t sure what to make of this Mallard as I could see it on the dock in the shade before flying into Tear Lake and it for sure had a blue/purple head instead of the natural most common green. I thought it was strange but when submitting it on Facebook, someone sent me a link to a page that showed indeed there is such a thing as a “Blue Headed” Mallard. COOL 😉


Rare Blue Headed Mallard :-)

60 replies on “Rare Blue Headed Mallard :-)”

Amy Cross says:

3 blue headed mallards are visiting our yard and lake. Beautiful. 2 males and 1 female. Absolutely beautiful.

Sharon Olson says:

I saw one yesterday, April 3, 2024, at Lake Sylvia State Park, Grays Harbor County, WA. Just beautiful!

GeoSchroeder says:

I have six make Blue-headed mallard drakes swimming in my pond today. Wow! Thought I was seeing things. Yesterday I had a mature Great Blue Heron catching bluegills out of the pond. This spring is awesome!

Troy Herrin says:

Thank you for reminding me!

Jo R. Jones, DVM says:

I saw one last night in an irrigation ditch in Carbondale, CO. He was bigger than the average mallard His head was a distinct, dark, bright blue like the one above. I looked at him from various angles and his head was blue. My husband came out and saw him too. I thought that his body feathers were lighter tan than the normal green-headed mallard. I definitely felt he wasn’t a typical green-headed mallard.

Tracy says:

Have you contacted your local Audubon chapter? Roaring Fork Audubon could help you with this identification. ☺️

Scott says:

Yes. I saw one also today at sly park lake in California. Dark purple head with medium Brown chest that looked like milk chocolate. 3:00pm in the afternoon in full sun. The bird was medium size.


I saw a flock of male Blue-headed Mallards at Grand Marais, MN on a recent trip.

I recently photographed a blue-headed Mallard at the Como Park Preserve in St. Paul MN. I photograph a lot of birds, but have never seen one with a head that color.

I photographed a blue-purple headed Mallard in two locations in Minnesota in the early Spring of 2018. One was swimming in a waste-water pond in St. Paul MN and the other was photographed at a park in Richfield MN. They are stunning and very rare. Some people say it has to do with the angle of light, but that is not it. These birds were sporting brilliant purple-blue heads.

We saw one today. We are from Coventry in England

Regina says:

I saw a beautiful Blue headed Mallard today in Ralston Creek, Arvada, CO light grey body with a blue back feather mating with a dark brown female with the same blue back feather. It had a bright yellow beaker and the female had a spoon bill with an orange rust strip on the side of the bill. So beautiful!

Goff says:

We’ve got a pair with a blue headed male hanging out I our yard in Phoenix!! They’ve decided our pool is attractive for some reason. They’ve been here for three days, while we have a permanent stream running through the wash behind our house. I guess the coyotes won’t bother them in our yard. They’ve spent the night for the last two nights hanging out on the top step of the pool. Odd. I guess if they nest in ore of the bushes, I’ll need to put bird wire in the skimmer to keep the babies from getting sucked in.

Kathy Clark says:

Joan do you have a link to the page with the blue headed mallards. I have a male and female on my pond this morning and was hoping to find out more about them.

nancy says:

I have a blue (looks purple to me) mallard ducks in my pond in my backyard today! How wonderful! I just LOVE ducks!!!

J Christensen says:

I saw a pair of male Mallards with this same coloration of the head, swimming along in Horsey Bay on Lake Ontario, near Kingston.
I had never seen this variation around here before; Strikingly beautiful iridescence.

Barbara says:

We have 2 blue headed mallards on our pond in Mills River, NC. They are beautiful. I have never seen them before.

Barbara Chemers says:

I saw a blue-headed mallard today at Soquel Creek in Capitola, CA.

Jackie Ward says:

I’ve just seen 2 blue headed mallards at shearwater England. They were definitely blue and not a trick of the light. Beautiful sight

Stephen Hamilton says:

Just saw one on Big Turkey Lake, Stroh, IN and had to look it up. Beautiful!!

Saw two of them chasing around a female and each other in front of our home on Lake Wallenpaupack in the Poconos in northeastern PA. Told the folks visiting us that weekend, they thought I was nuts till one of them landed right in front of us while hanging out on the dock. Got a couple pics but the bright sunshine makes the head look black.

Susan says:

There is a blue headed mallard that feeds under my bird feeder. He is beautiful. Lake Martin, AL


A blue head and his brother green head are courting a hen on our pond in Steamboat Springs, Co.

Pam says:

Too funny reading all these “blue headed mallard” spottings! We are in French River, Ontario and spotted a whole family of beautiful blue-headed ducks. At first glance, I thought they were mallards until we got closer and they clearly have beautiful blue heads.

Dave Coy says:

Thought I was losing my mind but saw a blue headed mallard duck with a hen on the St.John River at Long Reach, New Brunswick Canada on Sat October 26/19
Never knew such a thing existed until I looked it up.

Donna Beery says:

I saw a few of them 2-22-20 at Riverside Park, Chagrin Falls, Ohio. First time for me!

Susan says:

Today we saw a mallard pair at Jackson-Frazier wetland nature area in Corvallis, Oregon. The male’s head was much more purple than blue, from all angles and various light.

ann m lee says:

Saw a blue headed mallard today in PA.

Brian Gifford says:

Purple headed Mallard today, Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA

Stephanie says:

I live on one of the many harbor inlets in Oxnard, Ca. There are many beautiful blue/green headed drakes and several brown females. Since it is mateing season the males chase these lady ducks ALL the time.
I now have seen “duck sex” 3 feet from me. I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad if the male didn’t hold the females head to the ground and then grind on her. How many times can this happen in one season? I know that cats can have multiple males “service” her and the kittens can come out from multiple “pairings”.

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Stephanie, Wild Mallards have one brood per year, and rarely raise second broods, but some birds in urban and unnaturally crowded populations may do so. Mallards are also somewhat monogamous, but males often actively pursue forced extrapair copulations, resulting in a mixed paternity of broods.

Jeanette and Chris says:

A friend and I saw a blue headed mallard pair in a large puddle along with a normal green headed mallard pair on a Sonoma County, CA old railroad nature trail. It had an iridescent blue head and tail feathers with a beige body and wings. Gorgeous.

C. Parks says:

Blue-headed Mallard
Des Peres, MO, suburb of St. Louis, MO.
Blue-headed Mallard, Parks photo taken out our front door side window. Moore’s front yard across the street. I saw them fly into the yard but not out of the yard. I would like to have gotten a picture of them flying. I would think its unusal to see them in a suburban area away from water. We do have a lake in the city park about three miles away. I think there were three in the group. I only took pictures of two.

Kathy Gray says:

I’m watching four purple headed mallards in a pond across the road from my house. Beautiful looking birds. First time ever seeing this type of mallard. They have been coming here for the past couple of weeks. Southwest Nova Scotia.

Laura Rogalla says:

Saw a pair of blue headed Mallards April 20, 2020 in Gevena, IL in the pond outside of the Cancer Center I work at.

Laurie says:

We have a blue headed mallard at our feeder here in Canton, Mi. Him and his female hang out most of the day.

Katherine says:

Winnipeg. 3 here. So beautiful with silver grey body and purple heads.

Judy says:

We have at least 4 blue/purple headed mallards hanging out at our bird feeder daily. We live on a lake in NE PA. Beautiful – But I’m curious, are they rare?

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Judy, Mallards with true blue heads are indeed uncommon, but many that sport the normal green can appear an iridescent blue/purple in sunlight, so it can sometimes be hard to tell which kind you’re seeing.

Chris Baker says:

Saw 2 pair with blue/purple heads at Dalhousie Lake, Ontario. They were in various light and shade and I only saw blue/purple. During the same weekend we also saw our regular bright green head male mallards in the same bay.

Laura Ratcliff says:

Do mallard drakes keep the line through the eye it visible when they molt.

SoSan Mitchell says:

I spent close to an hour observing 25 or more mallards on Big Bear Lake (Metcalf Bay Area), Big Bear Lake, CA. All of the males had purple heads. Many of them seemed to be paired up with a female, who were smaller in size.

Alice G Eisenhauer says:

Colorado Springs, Co March 18, 2021
Several blue headed males in an urban pond. May have been females also, but I don’t know enough to say I saw any, other than the mallard females.

Tanya says:

They are not blue headed mallards. Mallards have different variety of colours in their head blue, green, purple l…all sorts of colours that’s what make up their camouflage. I see it all the time on the lake I live that and when they turn their head it turns a different colour again. I love these water fowls and I have done so much research on them

Brenda Yeager says:

I’m visiting my daughter’s family in Rhododendron, Oregon. She has ducks, but a purple headed mallard and his lady friend flew in and joined them in them this afternoon. It has been visiting for a good while and feeling comfortable here.

Kent Huber says:

We have a very white female and six babies along with a blue headed male duck in our back pond. Southport Indiana 4/30/21 at 7:05pm est.

Karyn Pugliese says:

I was wondering this myself and after some searching found this answer: At the time of breeding season, the male Mallards head color takes on a green sheen to help impress the females. During the courtship and mating process the drake’s head takes on a purple hue, this color gradually changes to black after the female lays her eggs (David, D. 2019, March 02).

danyce says:

No trick of the light. His head is all prurple. I have video and pix but can’t seem to paste them here. Champlin Mn, March 2022

Lynne Simcox says:

I had a mallard couple, one with distinctly beautiful, bright,
blue head on my patio this morning in Mountlake Terrace Washington. It was bright blue in both sun and shade.

Cyndy Hill says:

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a blue headed mallard pair on the river behind my home in Central Mass. I had never known there was such a species!

Missy Ackerman says:

Blue headed mallard swimming solo on pond in Forest Hills Park in Cleveland Heights, OH.

Michelle Simpson says:

We have four males swimming in the pool right this minute.

Larry Stegall says:

Saw a blue headed duck in my backyard pool today with what appeared to be a female, but “she” had some brighter colors on wing tips than normal female Mallard. Male was larger than the typical Mallards we see here. South of Dallas, TX

Michelle Stitham says:

I saw a blue headed Mallard for the very first time on Island Pond in Stodder New Hampshire on April 20, 2023. Stunning!

phoebe says:

A purple-headed mallard has come to my yard every evening for a pile of birdseed I feed him. He quacks softly as I go over and never flies away. In a quiet neighborhood in Salt Lake City, Utah with a manmade pond about a half mile away.

Susan says:

I just saw a blue headed Mallard, in my pool… the other 2, a couple come all the time, he has the common green head. But this was a beautiful blue!!

Bob says:

I had a blue headed mallard and his mate eating under a bird feeder in my back yard, this Spring, in North Hudson,WI

Went up to a blue mallard and stand two inches away from it whale it relaxing and lean over and touched his head and his actual body
At Hefner lake Oklahoma

Ramona says:

Saw 2 purple-headed males today at Lake Benson Park in Garner, NC. Couldn’t figure out why they looked like the green headed male Mallards that were also on the lake! Glad to know I’m not crazy!!

Alice Getchell says:

I posted somewhere else that I saw 2 blue headed ducks that looked like mallards but wasn’t sure. This was a couple of weeks ago. I’m in a suburb of Minneapolis MN. A city park right out our back door has about a one mile loop walking path that circles a marsh. There they were sitting on a log out among reeds. Thought I was seeing things. With so many sightings in so many different places, where is their normal area?

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