Mandarin Duck PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
average length for the Mandarin Duck is between
43-51cm, wings folded 22.1-22.6cm. They have a tail length
of 10.2-10.4cm and an average bill length of 27.9mm. In
full plumage, the male Mandarin is the most beautiful
of all ducks. The males have an iridescent crown extending
to a long crest and chestnut cheeks. The breast is maroon
with black and white vertical stripes; the abdomen and
underside are white with gold and black flanks. The back
and tail are olive brown, the upper tail coverts are blue/green,
and the scapulars are iridescent blue. The outer tertials
are orange and gold on the inner web and form a sail shape
and the upper wing surface is mostly olive brown. This
sail shape feature along with the white-eye stripe that
extends from the bill and tapers toward the back of the
head distinguishes the male from all others. Their bill
is red and they have whitish legs with yellow feet.
The females, however, are less colorful. Their color
vary from gray and white, to brown and greenish brown.
The crown and sides of the head and neck are gray with
a white-eye ring and streak that tapers off towards the
neck. The throat and fore neck are white and the breast
and sides of body are buff and gray. The back is gray
brown and there are a series of white spots on the under
parts. The wings are similar to the males but without
the sail feathers. The bill is grayish black and the legs
and feet are reddish yellow. The female bears a strong
resemblance to the female Wood Duck but can be
distinguished by the narrow eye stripe; the Wood Ducks
is shorter and more blunt. Differences between the
sexes are obvious, the males have a crested head
and chestnut/orange wing and sail feathers that are raised
vertically above their back. The females are duller in
color and lack the crested head. The juveniles resemble
the females but the males have a pinkish bill. During
molting periods when the Mandarin sheds its feathers,
the males resemble females but can be distinguished by
the red bill.
Mandarin Duck DISTRIBUTION and
Mandarin Duck originated in China but can
be found almost anywhere there is a suitable habitat.
They are believed to be semi-migratory and semi-colonial.
They are scattered throughout Southeast Russia, Northeast
China, Japan, Southern England and Siberia. Mandarins
were introduced to the west for breeding purposes by aviculturalists
and can be found in zoos around the world. The fall migration
ranges from China, Japan, Manchuria, North Korea, to the
central and southern islands east of the Sea of Japan.
Mandarins prefer to live in woodlands next to water that
has many trees with holes for nesting. They favor mountain
areas with streams, marshland and forests.
Mandarin Duck Diet:
In the wild, they eat seeds and other vegetable matter,
insects, worms, and small aquatic animals. They are especially
fond of acorns. In the zoo, they eat waterfowl maintenance
and fresh greens.
Mandarin Duck Life Cycle:
form life-long pair bonds. Breeding
begins in April, with males performing spectacular courtship
displays with their brightly-colored plumage. They nest
in empty woodpecker holes or other tree cavities. They lay
8-12 pale buff eggs
per clutch, and incubation takes
28-30 days. The chicks have olive-brown down with yellow
underparts. They leave the nest the same day as hatching
tumbling down to the ground or water to follow their mothers.
They are expert climbers, and can use their bills and claws
to climb back up to the entrance of the nest cavity. They
can fly after 40-45 days. Once they learn to fly, they leave
to join a new flock. They are mature at one year, and can
live up to 12 years in captivity.
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