The Mandarin duck (Aix galericulata), or just Mandarin, is a perching duck species, it is native to East Asia.
It is a medium-sized bird, adult males are distinct. It has a white crescent above the eye, a reddish face, 'whiskers', and a red bill. Their purple-colored breast has two white vertical lines, and it has two orange 'sails' at the back. The female duck has a pale brown color, an white eye ring with a strip running through the back of it, it also has a white flank stripe, and a pale tip to its bill.
It has various personalities, such as spirited or comedic. They dab for food in the water and walk on land. They are very agile in trees, where they walk around and perch. They feed early in the day, and at night. In proportion to their size they have large wings. This enables them to lift quickly off of the water in times of danger. The large wings also give them the ability to fly swiftly through the trees.
The male has a nasal whistling, a bark, and a grunting sound. The female has a soft call. Mandarin Ducks will form small flocks in the winter; however, they generally stay in breeding pairs. They do not usually associate with other ducks except Wood Ducks. The showy crest is raised when the male is agitated or during display. The hen rarely displays her crest. During the summer molt, the males stay well hidden; their loss of color helps to camouflage them. The female molt is slower and continues until her offspring are ready to fly.
Their diet consists of snails, insects, seeds, small fish, plants, mollusks and occasionally, small snakes.
A Mandarin Duck can live up to 4-8 years in the wild, but up to 12 years in captivity.
- Young ducks will discover water soon after the hatching. Mother will call them from the ground to jump down and follow her to the nearest body of water. Although they land from the high trees (sometimes 30 feet from the ground), ducklings do not end up injured from the fall.
- Mandarin duck is a medium sized bird. It can reach 8 to 10 inches in length and weigh between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds. Females are larger than males.
- Mandarin duck spends a lot of time in the water. It has webbed feet which facilitate paddling through the water. Oily substance covers the feathers and prevents soaking of the skin.