• acoustics;
  • Anas platyrhynchos;
  • decrescendo;
  • mallard;
  • spectral analysis;
  • vocalizations


Female mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) emit a diverse repertoire of vocalizations. Duck hunters and callers mimic these vocalizations using artificial calls made from wood or plastic. The extent to which humans can mimic live mallards using artificial calls is unknown. We compared acoustic features of field recordings of the decrescendo calls of wild female mallards with those of duck callers. A panel of 38 duck callers used artificial calls equipped with single and double reeds that were made of 7 species of hardwoods and cast acrylic. We found that cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa), osage orange (Maclura pomifera), pecan (Carya sp.), acrylic, and bocote (Cordia alliodora) calls with double reeds produced notes acoustically most similar to female mallard decrescendos. We recommend that duck hunters and callers use calls made of acrylic or harder wood species, recognizing that double reed calls generally out-performed single reed calls in this study. We recommend that similar studies be conducted for other types of game calls, and we recommend additional future research to determine whether use of such calls influences mallard harvest and hunter satisfaction. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.