So Ornate, So Exotic Looking, No Matter What Angle You View Them From They Look Almost Too Beautiful To Be Real!
HE HAS TWO ORANGE “SAILS” ON HIS BACK (LARGE FEATHERS THAT STICK UP LIKE BOAT SAILS).
An ornate, very exotic-looking bird with outstandingly bright “sail fins!” One that looks almost too beautiful to be real!
MEET THE MANDARIN DUCK
The mandarin duck (Aix galericulata), is a perching duck species native to the East Palearctic region. The male is a striking bird no matter what angle you view him from. He has a red bill with a white crescent above his eyes and a red face with “whiskers.” His breast is purple with two verticle white bars and ruddy-colored almost bronze-looking flanks. He has two orange “sails” on his back (large feathers that stick up like boat sails).
The female has a white-rimmed eye with a stripe running almost behind her head. She also has a small white flank stripe and a pale tip to her bill.
Both males and females have a crest, however, the males are much more purple.
These birds are native to eastern Russia and China, with another population in Japan. These Asian populations are migratory, wintering over in lowland eastern China and southern Japan.
These birds prefer to live and breed in dense, shrubby forested edges of rivers and lakes. This is mostly done in low-lying areas, but it may breed in valleys at altitudes up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft). Preferring areas of freshwater, wintering in coastal lagoons and estuaries.
Their diet mainly consists of eating plants and seeds, especially beech mast. However, they will eat add snails, insects, and small fish to their diet. Their diet does change seasonally, in fall and winter eating acorns and grains, in spring insects, snails, fish, and aquatic plants.
These ducks breed in densely wooded areas near lakes, ponds, and marshes. Nesting occurs in cavities in trees close to water during spring, with the female laying one clutch of up to twelve eggs she lays in April or May.
The male usually defends the brooding female and eggs during incubation, though does not participate in incubation. After the chicks hatch the male is already gone and the mom coaxes the ducklings from the nest, after which they follow her to a nearby body of water.
Threats to the Mandarin duck are many and varied in different parts of their range. Mink, raccoon, dogs, otters, polecats, Eurasian eagle-owls, and grass snakes all pose a threat to Mandarin duck populations. The biggest threat, however, is habitat loss, due to logging.