All About The Mandarin Duck — The World’s Most Beautiful Duck

Scientific Name: Aix galericulata

Geography: Eastern Russia, China, Japan, and Siberia

Habitat: Temperate forests and wetland

Diet: Omnivores

Behavior: Social animals

Life Span: 6 – 10 years

Conservation Status: Least concern

Threats: Mink, raccoon, dog, otter, polecat, grass snake, and Eurasian eagle-owls

The mandarin duck is by far the most gorgeous of over 120 different types of ducks found across the globe.

The males feature gorgeous plumage that will draw attention to them. Their numbers, on the other hand, are dwindling. Despite this, their ornamental nature makes them popular all over the world.

Mandarin ducks are revered in Asian culture as a emblem of love and devotion.

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What Do We Call Them?

The Story Of Ying Mei & Yuan Ge

Mandarin ducks are known as “yuanyang” in Chinese, which means “striking” couple. That term is also used to describe an “odd” or “unlikely” couple because the male and female ducks look so different.

In fact, an unlikely couple is at the heart of the narrative behind yuanyang. Yuan Ge, a gardener, and Ying Mei, the daughter of an official, fall in love. The girl’s father hired Yuan Ge to do some yard work.

Ying Mei was in distress in a lotus pond one day during a festival. The girl’s father misunderstood Yuan Ge’s intentions when he jumped in to rescue her. For trying to take advantage of his daughter, he imprisoned Yuan Ge.

Ying Mei came to Yuan Ge in jail one night to provide him with a beautiful, colorful robe. Her father became enraged when the guards informed him of this.

Yuan Ge was led to the pond and had stones tied to his feet, according to him. Ying Mei leaped into the pond after Yuan Ge to be with him, her eyes wide with grief and despair.

A pair of gorgeous mandarin ducks swam around the pond a few days later. Like the kimono that Yuan Ge had received from Ying Mei, the male was exquisite in hue.

The couple was thought to have taken the shape of the two birds because of their lovely hues.

What Do They Look Like?

Sexually dimorphic mallard ducks are found in Mandarin. As a result, simply looking at someone can tell you whether they are a guy or a lady.


Males are bright, as are most birds. They have white and black stripes on their purple chest. Dark brown wings with a blue-green feather border. Their wings have huge sail-like “sail fins,” which protrude over the top. A huge crown of brown and white feathers protects them as well.

Their cheeks have a bright orange streak, which you may see. Their beaks are pale with a little white patch on the end.

Their vibrant coloring attracts females, making them popular. Females select the most gorgeous male for copulation during the mating season.


The females have a considerably more muted appearance. They have white markings around the eyes and neck, but their body is mostly a dull brown-black color. In comparison to the males, their bill is much duller in color.

The webbed feet of both sexes are flat and thin, making swimming simple.

Both sexes have iridescent blue and green colors during flying.


These ducks are small but not tiny. With a wingspan of about 27.9in (71cm), their body length averages about 17.7in (45cm). They weigh about 1.15 to 1.39 pounds (520 to 630 grams).

Mandarin Chick Coloration

In terms of coloration, Mandarin duck chicks are also rather dull.

They do, in fact, resemble other duck species’ chicks. Mottled brown and yellow combine to create their back, wings, and chest. They have a brown stripe across their crown and are yellow in color.

A thin brown line extends from the back of their eye to the back of their head, which you may also see.

White Mandarin Ducks

madagascar ducks may exhibit a range of color variations in captivity.

The white mandarin duck is the most frequent of these mutations. This mutation was most likely caused by repeated cross-breeding and selective breeding. The precise origins of the mutation, however, remain unclear.

These birds are primarily white, with some that being considerably more so. The markings of many white mandarin ducks are similar to those of regular mandarin ducks, although they are less bright.

Their crest, chest, and sections of their wings and back are covered in a medium-brown coloration. Other white mandarins have a little brown on their chest or wings and are completely white.

Where Can We Find Them?

Eastern Russia, China, Japan, and Siberia are the natural habitats of these ducks. They will go to southern China and Japan over the winter, where it is a bit warmer.

They can be found all throughout Western Europe, but they are not indigenous to that area.

Where Do They Live?

Temperate woodlands and wetland ecosystems are preferred by mandarin ducks. They prefer to nest right over the top of a body of water, preferring to live near the water. Rivers, streams, lakes, marshes, swamps, and bogs are common places for them to be.

They prefer environments near sea level in the majority of their habitat. Nonetheless, some populations may grow as high as 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) above sea level.

These ducks may be seen around town, in parks, and even in people’s gardens. They are also frequently seen around suburban areas.

What Do They Eat?

Omnivores, mandarin ducks eat both plant and animal matter. Seeds, small fruit, acorns, snails, bugs, and little fish are among their favorite foods.

During the majority of their time, they eat mostly plants. In the spring and summer, they eat a lot of little animals.

How Do They Behave?

Mandarin ducks are mostly social creatures that live in large flocks foraging and traveling. During the breeding season, they disperse into pairs.

They make long migrations throughout the winter in the far east, where they are native. In under 24 hours, they may fly up to 500 miles (804.7 meters).

They’re a shy species that’s non-native to Western Europe. They prefer to hide in the shade of overhanging willow trees and don’t cause much of a disturbance.

Most birds did not migrate because the European population was introduced. Instead, they make the decision to stay in the same general region their whole lives.

Perching Ducks

Perching ducks include mandarin ducks. “Perching ducks” are a kind of duck that includes wood ducks. They adore being high up in trees.


Mandarin ducks use a succession of sharp “quacks” and high-pitched whistles to communicate.

How Do They Reproduce?

The majority of Mandarin ducks prefer to stay with the same partner. During multiple breeding seasons, they remain together.


The female is drawn to a male’s vivid colors, while the male is actually the one who courts her. Their love show includes a lot of jiggling and pretending to drink. It’s quite stunning.

Duck mating may be quite violent and unpleasant in reality. The male will mount the female in the water during mating.

Female ducks feature a vaginal entrance, whereas male ducks feature a penis. This is unusual among birds. To deposit his sperm, the male will put his penis into the vaginal opening.

Several times, the female does not want to perform this action. Ducks have a major issue with unwanted mating. Females have developed a vaginal entrance that twists to one side. As a result, it becomes more difficult for the guy to penetrate his penis.

Male ducks developed a corkscrew-shaped penis in response to this. It is supposed to make access simpler.


They choose a treehole to construct their nest when they are ready to mate. The nesting spot is eventually chosen by the female, although the male will accompany her on the search. They prefer to hole that are around 30 feet (9.14 meters) off the ground, since it is the safest place for them to be.

The mother lines the nesting hole with down to prepare for her eggs. After that, she’ll lay between 9 and 12 eggs. Every day until she’s done laying eggs, she lays one egg. Standard duck eggs, oval in shape and white in color, are what the eggs look like.

The mother incubates her eggs for around 28-30 days after they’ve been laid. The male provides her with little assistance, with about 80% of her time spent incubating eggs. She spends the remaining 20% of her time seeking out food for herself.

All of the chicks will emerge within a few hours of each other once they begin to hatch.

Raising the Offspring

Males do not assist incubate the eggs in the nest, despite the fact that they often remain with the same partner.

Ducklings will flee the nest as soon as they hatch. Their mother summons them to do so.


The process by which Mandarin Duck Chicks Get to the Ground may appear scary. Most bird species, on the other hand, are quite frequent.

The mother calls out to her chicks in the beginning. They leap out of their nest high up in the tree in response to this.


Before they learn to fly, the chicks will remain with their parents for about 6-8 weeks. After that, they’ll either separate from their parents or join a new flock. Even so, it will take about a year for them to reach sexual maturity.

How Long Do They Live?

In the wild, mandarin ducks have a six-year lifespan on average. They can survive up to ten years in captivity.

How Many Are Left?

According to researchers, there are roughly 66,000 wild animals left. They aren’t in any danger. They are currently classified as a “least concern” by the IUCN.

Their population is declining, despite the fact that they aren’t endangered.

Because humans do not hunt these ducks for food, they are not endangered. Many individuals claim that the meat they eat is unpleasant, which has helped them to survive.

Threats & Predators

They are threatened by habitat destruction, despite the fact that their populations are not endangered.

The Tung Ling woodland was opened for colonization in 1911. Few breeding areas remained by 1928. Because of the loss of their preferred habitat, their populations continue to dwindle today.

These ducks are still in danger of capture, despite the fact that they aren’t ideal for eating. They are popular animals kept as pets and trophies because of their beautiful plumage. These animals are illegally taken and sold to other nations by people.

Despite this, they aren’t particularly suited as pets. They’re not particularly sociable, and breeding them is more difficult than with other duck species. Mandarin ducks have never been domesticated as a result of this. Despite this, they are chosen as Pets by some people.


The predators that attack ducks are different depending on where they live. Minks, raccoons, dogs, otters, polecats, grass snakes, and Eurasian eagle-owls are among the predators.

What Role Do They Play in the Environment?

In the ecosystem, mandarin ducks play a minor role. Other animals, however, find them to be a valuable prey source.

They don’t actually harm the ecosystem even in places where they’re not native, such as western Europe.

Mandarin Ducks in Asian Culture

In both Chinese and Japanese cultures, mandarin ducks are well-liked.

They’re a sign of devotion and affection. They also represent everlasting love, which originated in Ying Mei and Yuan Ge’s unlikely romance. Mandarin ducks are commonly used at weddings because of this.

Mandarin Ducks in Feng Shui

In ancient China, feng shui was formed. It’s a symbolic system that incorporates various symbols. Certain energies are invited into a home by these symbols.

Nature is the focus of Feng shui. Chinese people draw inspiration from nature every day.

The mandarin duck is one of the feng shui symbols. Throughout Asian culture, mandarin ducks are a symbol of marital fidelity and happiness. As a result, the sign is often accompanied by another.

A pair of mandarin ducks is also customary on the bride’s wedding day, and they get an limitless quantity of “life force energy” called “qi.”

Mandarin ducks are frequently depicted in pieces of art. Textiles, screens, vases, and figurines are all possible applications. Other symbols, such as the “double happiness” symbol for joy, are frequently used in conjunction with it. It’s also associated with the Lotus logo or peace symbols.

What Is the Difference Between a Mandarin Duck and a Wood Duck?

The mandarin duck and the wood duck are commonly confused, despite their differences. The two species are closely related and share a lot of DNA. They prefer to spend their time in quiet and still waters, and they both nest in trees.

Wood ducks and mandarin ducks are hard to tell apart. However, there are clear color differences between males and females. In comparison to wood ducks, male mandarin ducks are brighter and more appealing.

Both species’ females are nearly identical, and it’s difficult to tell them apart. The white around the eyes is the most visible change. The female wood duck has a larger white patch. On a mandarin duck, it’s thinner and appears to be eyeliner-shaped.


How rare is a mandarin duck?

The mandarin duck is a rather uncommon creature. Just 66,000 people are estimated to live in the community. Only parts of Russia, China, and Japan are home to their natural populations. Nonetheless, a few tiny populations have been imported to western Europe.

Are mandarin ducks a luxury item?

Mandarin ducks are expensive because of their limited population and gorgeous colors.

They sell for an average of $100 to $600 per duck in most hatcheries across the United States. The more expensive white mandarin duck, which costs about $600 per bird on average, is a little more difficult to come by.

Can you eat mandarin duck eggs?

Compared to other duck eggs, mandarin duck eggs are equally safe to eat. However, there does not appear to be any information on whether the flavor is good.

Mandarin ducks have a horrible flavor to their flesh, unlike most ducks. Their eggs may therefore be horrible, too.

Can you keep mandarin ducks as pets?

Because they aren’t particularly sociable, mandarin ducks aren’t the greatest pets. They can’t be used for meat or egg production, and it’s difficult to do so. As a result, owners of these items are only interested in their aesthetic worth.

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