Gay Mallards

To: "Pat O'Malley" <>
Subject: Gay Mallards
From: Ian Montgomery <>
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 11:12:48 +1100

Your tale of the two male Mallards and the domestic duck reminds me of an
incident reported my one of the early ethologists (animal behaviourists) in
the 1950s, either Konrad Lorenz, I think,  or Nikolaas Tinbergen.

He had a pair of male Mallards who were very attached to each other and
spent the whole time in each other's company.  For some reason, the two
were eventually separated and one of them paired with a female and produced
offspring.  Meanwhile, the other one reappeared on the scene and the
"married" male, on seeing him, let out quacks of apparent delight,
abandoned his wife and kids and rejoined his old boyfriend.

Is longterm pair-bonding a feature of (heterosexual) Mallards?  I was under
the impression that male Mallards don't play a role in tending the

Dr Ian Montgomery, 
Institute of Marine Ecology, A11, University of Sydney, NSW 2006.
Phone: (+61-2) 9351 4786; Fax: (+61-2) 9351 6713; Home phone: (+61-2) 9818
Pay us a visit at:

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