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Mandarin Duck

Aix galericulata

  • Family: Waterfowl – Anatidae
  • Appearance: Drakes very colourful, unmistakable plumage. Females resemble wood duck females, but are slightly paler with more distinct markings.
  • Size: Length 41–49 cm (16–19 in), wingspan 65–75 cm (25,5–29 in), weight 444–500 g (17.7–20 oz).
  • Nest: In holes in trees.
  • Breeding: 9–12 eggs incubated by females for 28–30 days. Ducklings learn to fly within 40–45 days.
  • Distribution: Original range in Eastern Asia. Escapees have thrived in Britain since the early 1900s. Only a few individuals seen in Finland yearly.
  • Migration: Migratory within original distribution area.
  • Diet: Various aquatic plants and parts of plants from the water surface or dabbled in shallow water. Also feeds on land, when will even eat nuts and seeds.
  • Calls: Fairly quiet. Drakes make shrill whistling warning calls when taking flight; females make a dull cackling call.

Mandarin Ducks slightly resemble Wood Ducks, though females can be identified in all plumages by the pale bases of their beaks and the round spots on their flanks. They also have less white around their eyes – their eye-rings and eye-stripes are narrower and more distinctly bordered.

Adult males are unmistakable. A broad white streak starts from their beaks, widening behind their eyes, and ending as part of a colourful ruff behind their necks. The long orange plumes on their cheeks and neck look as if they have been combed when wet. Two orange “sails” stick up from their backs. Their flanks are brownish, and they have white patches under their tails, and metallic dark violet breasts. Their upper parts are mainly dark and glossy. They have dark irises, and red beaks with pale bases.

Adult females and young birds resemble Wood Ducks, but they have less white around their eyes, their heads are paler, and the white spot on the base of their beaks is shaped differently. The spotted markings on their flanks are also more distinct. Females’ eyes are dark brown, and their beaks are yellowish green with pale bases (unlike the darker beaks of female wood ducks).

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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