Aix galericulata

Description

The Mandarin Duck drake is by far the more spectacular bird with a swept back erectile crest on top of its head. The drake's forehead is greenish black and the crest area is purple with a white splash on the side of the head. The breast is maroon with a base colour of chestnut. Slightly curled wing feathers, known as 'sails', sit up along the back and are coloured bright orange. The hen is grey with a small crest, which is just about the size of a homing pigeon. Mandarin Ducks also have sharp claws on their webbed feet which means they can perch and nest high up in trees in their native state.

Distribution

The Mandarin Ducks can be found in Eastern Russia, China and Japan.

Lifespan

A Mandarin Duck lives for 6 - 7 years in the wild. In captivity some have been recorded living for up to 10 years.

Size

The Mandarin Duck is approximately 41 - 49 centimetres in length and has a wingspan of 65 - 75 centimetres.

Diet

The Mandarin Duck eats plants and seeds either by dabbling or walking on land.

Habitat

The Mandarin Duck inhabits forests, wooded ponds and fast flowing rocky streams to swim, wade, and feed in.

Breeding

Mandarin Ducks breed in densely wooded areas near shallow lakes, marshes or ponds. They nest in cavities in trees close to water.

The nest hole is lined with down with an average clutch size of 8 - 10 eggs.

The mother sheds her own feathers to cover her eggs so she can feed or rest. She is very protective of both her eggs and her ducklings. The mother will decoy predators away from the nest. The male plays no part in the incubation process, which lasts for about 30 days.