Mandarin Duck

Aix galericulata
Range Map

The Mandarin Duck is a perching duck closely related to the North American Wood Duck. The native breeding range for these birds is Japan and northeastern Asia (northwest of Japan). Migrating populations overwinter in low-lying regions of eastern China and southern Japan. Because of deforestation and habitat loss, the native Asian population is threatened. Researchers believe Russia and China each have fewer than 1000 pairs of these ducks remaining in their native range, while Japan hosts about 5000 pairs. Once this bird was widespread in Asia, but now transplanted feral populations in Europe and elsewhere may outnumber those in their native home range.

Local cultures revere Mandarin Ducks in their native range. We believe these birds mate for life. In oriental cultures, they symbolize fidelity and conjugal affection.

Taxonomists have established no subspecies of the Mandarin Duck (i.e. they are monotypic).

My encounters with this species have come from captive or released birds in North America. They are breathtakingly gorgeous, especially the drakes. In his elegance, I feel he has no rival, not even our own spectacular Wood Duck.

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