Mandarin Duck

Aix galericulata

Species Information

These unique looking ducks can be found chilling in their pond in the aviary in the middle of the park!

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This perching duck is native to East Asia, but have also been introduced throughout Europe on riverbanks and streams.

Generally, male ducks are ‘showier’ and more colorful than female ducks as a means to attract a female. Male mandarin ducks take this one step further, with their iridescent plumage made of orange, green, white, red, and brown feathers. Males also sport a ‘sail’ during the breeding season, which are a collection of upright feathers protruding from their back.

Plants make up most of the mandarin duck’s diet, but they also feed on invertebrates, small fish and various grains and seeds.

About 7 years in the wild and 10 years in captivity.

These ducks are social throughout most of the year, foraging, traveling, and migrating in flocks. Only during the breeding season do pairs break off from the flock to incubate and rear their young.

Mandarin duck pairs are generally monogamous as the same pair breed for several seasons in a row. However, they do not necessarily mate for life and sometimes ‘swap’ partners. 9-12 eggs are laid in their own nests found within tree hollows. But sometimes female mandarins will deceivingly lay their eggs in other nests for other ducks to incubate. This egg-dumping behaviour can lead pairs to have clutches as large as 40 eggs! Once the ducklings hatch, they instinctively follow their mothers to water, and so jump out of their tree hollow nests.

Least Concern

Though males have a colourful plumage to attract females, females initiate courtship by enticing their preferred male!