The World’s Most Colorful Duck
The Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata), or just Mandarin, is a medium-sized, East Asian perching duck, closely related to the North American Wood Duck. It is 41–49 cm long with a 65–75 cm wingspan. Its most recognizable feature is its brilliant coloring.
The adult male has a red bill, large white crescent above the eye and reddish face and “whiskers”. The breast is purple with two vertical white bars, and the flanks ruddy, with two orange “sails” at the back. The female is similar to female Wood Duck, with a white eye-ring and stripe running back from the eye, but is paler below, has a small white flank stripe, and a pale tip to its bill. [Source: Wikipedia]
The species was once widespread in eastern Asia, but large-scale exports and the destruction of its forest habitat have reduced populations in eastern Russia and in China to below 1,000 pairs in each country; Japan, however, is thought to still hold some 5,000 pairs. Specimens frequently escape from collections, and in the 20th century a large feral population was established in Great Britain; more recently small numbers have bred in Ireland, concentrated in the parks of Dublin. There are now about 7000 in Britain, and other populations on the European continent, the largest in the region of Berlin. [Source: Wikipedia]
In traditional Chinese culture, Mandarin Ducks represent a life-time couple, unlike many other species of ducks. Hence they are frequently featured in Chinese art and are regarded as a symbol of conjugal affection and fidelity.
Below you will find a small gallery of this beautiful animal. A quick search on Flickr or Google will net many stunning results if you’re craving more 🙂
If you enjoyed this post, the Sifter highly recommends: