Mid to late summer as their ducklings become juveniles Mallard Ducks acquire what is known as eclipse plumage. As a result of the yearly molt males lose their distinctive shiney green heads and look suprisingly like females. Looking closely you can tell the difference – male beaks are of a greenish hue while the females are yellow and black.
During the few weeks of the molt the ducks are incapable of flight. This fact is what inabled me to take this photo; otherwise the birds would have flown upon noticing my arrival.
When courtship begins in the fall the males will have their distinctive look back and the cycle of life continues.