Can You Eat Mallard Ducks?

Yes, you can eat mallard ducks. As a matter of fact, mallards are the most sought-after type of wild ducks for their good amount of tasty and delicious meat. Mallard’s meat needs a little preparation. In this case, it is recommended that you cut the breast in half and immerse the whole meat in saltwater brine for a period of at least 12 hours.

Mallard meat has a coarse texture and a slightly gamey taste. But if they are domestically raised, these ducks won’t have the gamey taste as their cousins in the wild. You can grill it or fry it depending on your preference.

Are Mallard Ducks Safe to Eat?

Yes! Mallard ducks are edible, including their eggs. Mallards’ eggs come in different colors such as creamy white, blue-green, and pale blue. The eggs don’t have any markings. Mallard meat has a delicious taste with a red meat flavor similar to steak.

Plus, mallard duck meat is surprisingly healthy. So, if you are a duck hunter, you can possibly try out on mallards and see how it goes. Most probably you will like mallard meat more than other types of wild ducks.

Is It Legal to Eat Mallard Ducks?

Mallard ducks have their own legal status. They are protected under the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty. Therefore, it is illegal for anyone to possess, sell, take, transport, or even purchase mallard birds or their parts such as eggs, feathers, or nests without a valid permit from the relevant authority.

In this sense, you should have a permit to hunt and shoot mallard ducks for their meat. Otherwise, slaughtering and eating them is illegal.

What do Mallard Ducks Eat?

Mallard ducks are widespread and can be found mainly in Asia, Eurasia, Hawaii Islands, Mexico, and North America. They are migratory as well as omnivorous birds. Their diet is usually flexible and depends on various factors like the seasonal deviation in food availability and breeding cycle.

Sadly, most people are not yet sure about what mallards eat. These types of ducks feed on invertebrates and gastropods. Males can eat as much as 37% of animals. Their diet comprises 63% of plant material. On the other hand, female mallards eat around 72% of animals as well as 28% of plants.

Most mallards’ diet is made of mainly plants. During migration season, mallard ducks eat too much food. Some eat small animals like frogs although this is very rare.

Mallards also eat small fish, moths, snails, mollusks, beetles, dragonflies, crustaceans, caddisflies, bugs, flies, worms, lepidopterans, aquatic plants, plant seeds, plant roots, amphibians, grain, and fruits. In addition, these birds feed on a few pebbles to help in their digestion process.

Even though mallards eat a variety of foods, there are those that they should not be given. An example is the loaf of bread. Any type of bread lacks nutritional value. But kitchen scraps such as cracked corns and chopped vegetables are some of the tasty treats that you can give to your pet mallard duck.

In brief, the best type of food for mallard ducks is that which has essential minerals and vitamins for their health nourishment. Make sure to vary their diet regularly to help them achieve their nutritional needs throughout. Don’t forget to give them fresh, clean water on hot days.

Having knowledge of what mallard ducks eat is important since most people have some misconceptions about their overall diet. Also, this knowledge will help you know what these birds eat, especially when it comes to feeding them at your local park.

How do Mallard Ducks Taste?

In the wild, ducks are classified into two major groups; divers and mallards. Divers have spoon-shaped beaks that they use to search for food under the water. Mallards, however, are commonly referred to as dabblers because they consume aquatic plants and a few animals.

These two factors determine how wild duck meat tastes. Often, the flavor of ducks is determined by their diet. So, mallard duck meat has a gamey flavor associated with the wild game.

To get rid of this gamey flavor, you need to place the meat in the brine containing different kinds of spices and herbs with equal amounts of sugar and salt for a day. Mallard duck meat requires less cooking time compared to the farmed one.

What Other Wild Ducks Are Good to Eat?

Depending on what part of the state or country you  live, you may as well wish to have a taste of these wild ducks:

1. Scaup

Also known as “Blackjack” or “Dos Gris”, scaup ducks have tasty and delicious meat that can feed a whole family. These fast-flying wild ducks are sporty birds. Although they are easy to shoot, scaup ducks require intensive labor to cook them. It is recommended that you keep their meat in a three-day saltwater brine with lots of garlic before cooking. Scaup meat is usually dark-colored, coarse, and gamey.

2. Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler feeds mainly on rice. They are also edible wild ducks. During the preparation of Northern Shoverler’s meat, make sure to place it in a three-day brine with some garlic to make it tender and less gamey. Their meat is normally tender and musty.

3. Coot

Coot is also called “Poue D’Eau”. Although this is not a real wild duck, a coot has a firm, meat with a livery taste. The meat can be prepared by marinating and deep-frying it.

4. Blue-Winged Teal

Blue-Winged Teal ducks are sporty birds. Their meat is as tasty as that of Northern Shoveler only that they are relatively smaller. Blue-Winged Teal has a tender morsel, musty and earthy meat.

5. Canvasback

Canvasback ducks can best be described as a larger version of the scaup ducks. These ducks are big and fast-flying, making them a perfect choice of sporty birds for shooting. Their meat is dark and course with a gamey taste.


Even though Mallards are wild ducks, they are edible. Their meat has a little bit of a gamey taste but it is generally delicious. Mallard ducks belong to the category of ducks, commonly referred to as puddles or dabblers due to their feeding nature. They are considered the best table birds among the wild ducks thanks to their diet.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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