I found a LOT of 5 week old mallard ducklings today, mostly in one place. I think I counted 12 of them there. This would mean that a large percentage, if not most, of the ducklings that I have photographed have made it to this stage.
I've noticed that they spend very little time with their mom, though I suspect that mom is around. They mostly hang out with each other. They resemble American black ducks, which do not live in this part of the country, but they don't have the brightly colored patch that most of the adults have. At five weeks, they are fully feathered and "filled out", but their flight feathers have not grown, yet. They should be shedding their dark brown feathers in the next week or two and be able to fly in about three weeks.
This photo shows the lack of flight feathers.
Here is one five week old and the four and a half week old I posted a photo of earlier:
Could this be one of the "drama ducklings"?
I think there were at least seven or eight five week olds in the photo and the one that is four and a half weeks old:
Molting feathers must be itchy.
Here are a few more:
They're beautiful with their round shape and dark brown color.