The Mandarin Duck ranks as an extraordinarily beautiful, not to mention colorful, variety of duck. They bear a close relationship to the wood duck of North America.
This unique animal now lists as Threatened in its endemic range. The primary reason for this remains habitat loss, due to the destruction of native forests. However, and in this instance thankfully, mankind introduced to many other portions of the world.
The Mandarin Duck constitutes a species of perching duck. They spend the majority of their time during the day perching (hence the term) in trees or on the ground. Several variations also developed through captive breeding practices.
Though not hunted for food, their beauty serves as a curse since collectors often hunt them.
Mandarin Duck Physical Description
Experts consider the Mandarin Duck a medium-sized duck, proving that beauty comes in all sizes. They attain an average length of nearly 19 in (49 cm). Their wingspan averages roughly 30 in (75 cm).
Sexual dimorphism appears in this species via coloring. The females typically present brown on the back and wings, and white beneath. By contrast, the males seem brilliantly colored. They combine variations of red, blue, white, orange, and purple. The beak even shines a bright red.
However, the male does resemble the female’s coloring while it molts. Both genders display a crest though that of the male stays far more pronounced.
Mandarin Duck Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Mandarin Duck is endemic to portions of East Asia. This range includes parts of China, Russia, and Japan. Now, however, they may be found in small populations in countries such as England, Ireland, Germany, and the United States.
They generally prefer to inhabit densely wooded regions near ponds, marshes, or shallow lakes. The creature most commonly inhabits lower altitudes, but may occasionally be found at altitudes of as much as 4,900 ft (1,500 m).
This animal typically feeds feed at dawn and dusk, with their principal diet consisting of seeds, insects, snails, nuts, worms, and small fish.
They make their nests near water, laying 9-12 eggs. The male will protect the nest and eggs but does not assist in their incubation.