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Mandarin Duck by Rob Miller
© Mandarin Duck by Rob Miller

Mandarin Duck

Aix galericulata

The beautiful Mandarin Duck was introduced from the Far East, where it can still be found in China, Japan, Korea and parts of Russia.

© Mandarin duck with duckings ©Sandra Fretwell-Smith

It escaped, or was deliberately released, from captivity. Mandarin Ducks are actually quite shy birds, often hiding beneath overhanging willows and usually only forming small flocks.

How to Identify

A beautiful, unmistakable duck, male Mandarins have elaborate plumage with orange plumes on their cheeks, orange ‘sails’ on their back and pale orange sides. The female of this little duck is dull in comparison, with a grey head, brown back and white eye-stripe.

Where to Find

Introduced from China and now found on park lakes and other wetlands with overhanging trees, mainly in South East England but also in the rest of England, Wales and Scotland.

How People Can Help

Mandarin Ducks were once widespread in the Far East, but the destruction of its natural forest habitat has caused a significant decline in populations: only 1,000 pairs now exist in Russia and China. Although the British population is introduced, it could serve to be a valuable ‘reservoir’ for this species in the future. Local Wildlife Trusts work hard to protect and manage the wetland habitats that our waterbirds need to survive; by volunteering you can help too, and you’ll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Did you know?

The Mandarin Duck nests in holes in trees, sometimes high up and a long way from the water. Shortly after the ducklings hatch, the female flies down and tries to coax the young to jump from the nest. Once they have left the tree and made their way back to water, the father will return to the family and help to protect the ducklings.

Key Facts

  • Length: 45cm
  • Wingspan: 71cm
  • Weight: 520-630g


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