Mandarin Duck

Aix galericiulata

About This Animal

SIZE: 16 inches

RANGE: Eastern Asia

HABITAT: Wooded waterways, swamps, lakes and ponds

DIET: Plants and seeds

ON EXHIBIT:  Nishikigoi Exhibit in Rivers of the World in River Journey

One of the most spectacular of all ducks, the male has a red bill, a large white crescent above the eye and reddish face and whiskers.  The breast is purple with two white vertical bars, and the flanks are ruddy with two spectacular orange “sails” at the back. The female is much less striking in appearance and looks very much like a female wood duck (the species are closely related). The female has a white eye-ring and line behind the eye but is pale below and mostly gray-brown over all.  Beak is gray with a pale tip.  The mandarin duck is an Asian symbol for love and fidelity because the pairs tend to stay together year after year unlike most other species of waterfowl.

The species was once widespread all across eastern Asia, but capture for export and habitat destruction have reduced populations. Strong populations still can be found in Japan and Great Britain, believe it or not, where feral birds have thrived!