Considered by most as the most ornamental of the
world's ducks, the Mandarin Duck is a very popular
aviary bird and commonly seen in many collections.
They are closely related to the North American Wood
Duck and both species are the only members of the
genus. Despite the close relationship, there have been
only a few reports of hybridization, but none have
ever been documented or proven.
In the wild, Mandarins can be found in China,
Korea, Japan and eastern Siberia.
The drake is one of world's most beautiful ducks
and quite unlike any other species. The forehead is
glossy greenish-black that turns to purple as it
slopes to a crest at the back of the head; the sides
of the head are white with chestnut in front of the
eyes. The sides of the neck and the cheeks have
elongated chestnut feathers that form a mane; the
upper breast is maroon, while the lower breast and
belly are white. The sides and flanks are brown,
finely penciled with black. The most unique features
are the wing sails, which are bright orange feathers
that stand straight up off his inner wings. The hen
greatly resembles a wood duck hen. She is grayer and
has a smaller crest and eye ring.
Like the wood duck, Mandarins require nesting boxes to
nest in. The breeding season begins in late April when
the hen begins to lay her clutch of 8 to 12 eggs that
are incubated for about 28 days. The hens are good
mothers and will raise her own young if you allow her
to. The ducklings grow quickly and are able to fly at
8 weeks. They are able to breed the first year, but
fertility is best during the second year.