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Mandarin Duck

Mandarin Duck
Photo Information
Copyright: Manyee Desandies (manyee) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-11-28
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon Powershot S3 IS
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-09-13 8:55
Viewed: 3207
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Mandarin Duck
Aix galericulata

The Mandarin lives in the forests of China and Japan. They prefer wooded ponds and fast flowing rocky streams to swim, wade, and feed in.

In full plumage, the male has a pair of "sail" feathers that are raised vertically above the back, a crest of orange and cream feathers, and a broad white eye-stripe that is bounded above and below by darker feathers. The female is duller in color and has an overall grey appearance marked by a curving white stripe behind the eye and a series of white blotches on the underparts. In flight, both sexes display a bluish-green iridescent speculum.

Mandarin courtship display is very impressive and includes mock-drinking and shaking. Pairs are formed at the beginning of the winter and may continue for many seasons. Although the female chooses the exact nesting site, the male accompanies the female on nest searches. Nest are alway in a hole in a tree and can be up to thirty feet from the ground. In preparation for egg laying, the female lines the nest is with down. Clutch sizes range from nine to twelve white oval eggs that are laid at daily intervals. Incubation is solely performed by the female and last between 28 and 30 days. When all the eggs are hatched (they hatch within a few hours of each other), the mother calls to the chicks from the ground. Each chick then crawls out of the hole and launches itself into a free fall. Amazingly, all the chicks land unhurt and are en route to the nearest feeding ground. Once the chicks are able to fly (after 40-45 days), they leave to join a new flock.

The Mandarin Duck's basic diet consists of water plants, rice and other grains.

Derstruction of habitat has had a severe impact on the oriental populations of Mandarins. In 1911, the Tung Ling forest, a Mandarin stronghold, was opened up for settlement and thereafter forests were cleared. By 1928 few sufficient breeding areas remained. The current Asian population may be under 20,000 birds. One factor that has helped the Mandarin to survive is their bad taste. These ducks are not hunted for food.

The Mandarin is held in high esteem by the Japanese and the Chinese. In these countries, they serve as a symbol of happiness and marital fidelity.

This photo was taken at the pond at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego.


marianas, jlinaresp, tuslaw, SelenE, Juyona, jcoowanitwong, greghume has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Wonderful colored capture, great details, good work.

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2009-09-13 12:06]

Bonjour Manyee,

Superbe canard et bonne netteté.

Hi Manyee,

Hand painted, my friend ... painted by hand!

Congratulations, it's perfect!


  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2009-09-13 17:53]

Hello Manyee,
A gorgeous duck showing beautiful coloration and wonderful detail. Excellent composition with just the right exposure!!

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2009-09-14 9:59]

Hi Manyee,
Very nice capture of this beautiful mandarin duck. Colors and patterns of the plumage look lovely. TFS
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2009-09-14 10:14]

Hola Manyee,
estupenda captura,
buenos colores y foco.

Hi Manyee,
I enjoy looking at this colorful Mandarin Duck. Also thanks for the informative note. Very well done.
Best wishes,

Hello Manyee,

The colors (how would I describe them? varied though tastefully muted?) and the catch light in the eye of your duck really grab my eye. Nicely done!

As with far too many of my own nature photos, I can only wonder if this may have been even more stunning if the viewpoint were lower, possibly even down on "eye-level" with the duck.

Nice work! Thanks for sharing!


Hello Manyee,
Male Mandarins have incredible coloring and patterning. You did well to capture both with this difficult lighting. I'm glad to hear that they have at least some defense against hunting pressure, but I doubt that much can be done with respect to development pressure. Interesting note.

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