20 Facts About Mandarin Ducks

Facts About Mandarin Ducks

Mandarin ducks (Aix galericulata) are perching ducks from the East Palearctic. It is closely related to the lone other member of the genus Aix, the North American Wood duck. The duck’s cap-like head is called galericulata, from Latin, meaning wig. However, here is a list of 20 Facts About Mandarin Ducks

3 fun facts about mandarin ducks

Mandarin Ducks and Their American Cousin

Mandarin ducks have a close relative in North America: the wood duck. These two species are the only members of the genus Aix, making them distant cousins. While the Mandarin duck is native to East Asia, its American counterpart can be found in the wetlands and forests of North America.

Mandarin Ducks’ Elaborate Courtship

Mandarin ducks’ intricate courting displays are widely recognized. These rituals require preening, shaking, pretend drinking, and weird sound-making. The female’s sounds are regarded as a “coquette call,” while the male’s are often characterized as a “half-repressed sneeze.”

They are normally silent most of the time, with occasional staccato sounds from the male and female. This monogamous inclination is assumed to stem from frequent courting displays and the expulsion of intruders. Although they are often monogamous for many years, bigamy or polygamy is not uncommon.

The natural nesting habitat of mandarin ducks is in tree holes

Mandarin ducks have a unique nesting method, seeking tree holes up to thirty feet above ground. The female lays 9 to 12 eggs, which she spends about a month nursing. When the ducklings hatch, they must perform a breathtaking free fall from the nest to the earth below. The mother waits underneath, gently guiding her children to the next water source.

List of 15 Facts About Mandarin Ducks

What does a Mandarin duck look like?

The Mandarin duck is famous for its stunning plumage. The crest on the rear of the head is a vivid purple, while the forehead is a dark greenish-black. The head features creamy white sides, and a chestnut spot under the eyes adds warmth. Longer brown feathers on the sides of the neck and cheeks give the bird a unique and sophisticated look.

Mandarin duck male vs female

Facts About Mandarin Ducks
Facts About Mandarin Ducks

The female Mandarin duck sports a more subdued plumage, with a paler underside, a small white flank stripe, and a pale-tipped bill. Both males and females have crests, but the male’s vibrant purple crest is more pronounced. Like many duck species, the male Mandarin undergoes a post-breeding molt, transitioning into a more muted “eclipse” plumage.

Mandarin duck male vs female size

Mandarin ducks are medium-sized, measuring 41–49 cm (16–19 in) in length with a 65–75 cm (26–30 in) wingspan. Mandarin ducks exhibit striking size differences between the sexes. The males can weigh up to 0.63 kg (1.4 lbs), while the larger females may reach 1.08 kg (2.4 lbs). These birds maintain a diverse diet, feeding on seeds, acorns, small fruit, insects, snails, and even small fish.

Where are Mandarin ducks from?

Mandarin ducks from the Far East, first imported into the United Kingdom, may still be found in China, Japan, Korea, and parts of Russia. They have been discovered reproducing in tree holes in numerous localities, including Yew View, after escaping or being purposefully freed from prison in the UK, where they have since become very well-known.

Where does the mandarin duck live?

Eastern Asia’s Mandarin Duck lives in Korea, Eastern Russia, China, Taiwan, and Japan. These birds inhabit temperate forests near wetlands such as rivers, streams, bogs, marshes, swamps, and freshwater lakes. The estimated global population is 65,000 with a Least Concern conservation rating.

How long do Mandarin ducks live?

Mandarin ducks may live up to 12 years or more if they are properly raised, however, they usually only live for 6–12 years in nature. Though their exact lifespan is unknown, they might survive up to 20 years in captivity. While those reared in better living circumstances and care may live longer, Mandarin ducks in the wild typically live 6–10 years.

What do mandarin ducks eat?

They are omnivores; they devour seeds, nuts, aquatic vegetation, fish, insects, and snails. Mandarin ducks are cautious and spend much of their time in lightly vegetated streams in small groups.

Mandarin ducks adapt their diet to the seasons:

  • Fall and Winter: Acorns and grains are their primary food sources.
  • Spring: Insects, snails, fish, and aquatic plants are their main diet.
  • Summer: They eat dew worms, small fish, frogs, mollusks, and small snakes.

Do Mandarin ducks mate for life?

Mandarin duck pairings are not monogamous, contrary to centuries-old beliefs. They construct seasonal partnerships where men and women separate in the autumn to find new partners. The Mandarin duck symbolizes fertility, loyalty, and love in Asian society.

Breeding and Nesting

Pair connections last several seasons, and Mandarin ducks are monogamous. Mock drinking and shaking are part of the wooing process. The female chooses where to build her nest, and the male follows her to discover it.

Typically, the nest is located in a tree hole up to thirty feet above ground. In April and May, the female produces 9 to 12 white oval eggs daily. Incubation lasts 28 to 30 days and is mostly experienced by females. Following hatching, the ducklings are lured by their mother and emerge from the hole, jumping to the ground and heading for the closest feeding place. They mature at one year of age.

How many eggs do mandarin ducks lay?

Mandarin ducks normally lay 9-12 eggs over two weeks in the spring, with the female brooding the eggs for roughly four weeks until the ducklings hatch and depart the nest. In situations of brood parasitism, the quantity of eggs may vary dramatically.

Are Mandarin ducks friendly?

Mandarin ducks are among the quietest of all the ducks. They would prefer to hide behind trees like overhanging willows and assemble smaller flocks. Still, consistent involvement with others could cause this inclination to fluctuate with time. Often leaving their hiding spots and interacting with people, they could grow bolder and more confident as they get more habituated to human presence.

Are Mandarin ducks good pets?

Beginners may be better suited for Mandarin ducks. They are lovely, durable, and have minimal upkeep. These ducks may be kept among other waterfowl, doves, and even pheasants; they are happiest in smaller aviaries. Their adaptability makes them a fantastic complement to heterogeneous collections, ensuring a harmonious and healthy home for all birds.

Mandarin ducks are migratory

Mandarin ducks are migratory. They spend cold winters in eastern China and southern Japan.

mandarin duck predators

Mink, raccoon dogs, otters, polecats, Eurasian eagle owls, and grass snakes are all predators of the mandarin duck.

Symbol of Love:

In Chinese culture, mandarin ducks are considered a symbol of love, fidelity, and marital bliss. They are often featured in artwork and literature as a symbol of a happy and lasting relationship.

Conservation Status:

Mandarin ducks are classified as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, they face threats from habitat loss, hunting, and hybridization with native duck species.


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