Mandarin Duck

Mandarin Duck

Scientific Classification

Common Name
mandarin duck
Genus Species
Aix (water bird) galericulata (small capped head)

Fast Facts

The mandarin duck has a glossy greenish-black forehead 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 longer brown feathers. The upper breast is maroon, and the lower breast and belly are white. The sides and flanks are brown with black streaks and wing sails, which are bright orange feathers.
The female mandarin duck is grayer and has a smaller crest and eye ring as compared to the male.
Approximately 21.0–24.5 cm (8.3–9.7 in.) long
Male: Approximately 0.63 kg (1.4 lbs.)
Female: Approximately 1.08 kg (2.4 lbs.)
Varies with season and locality; includes acorns, buckwheat, and rice (in fall), insects snails, small fish, and vegetation (in spring); grapes, roses, rhododendrons, pines, aquatic plant seeds, horsetail shoots
28–30 days
Clutch Size
9–12 eggs; female incubates the eggs 80% of the time, joined by male for short breaks during the day
Fledging Duration
6–8 weeks
Sexual Maturity
Approximately 1 year
Life Span
No data
Found throughout Southeast Asia, Soviet Union, and China; largest populations found in Japan and England
Inhabits river valleys with wooded islands, forest lakes with willow-lined banks and small forest ponds
Global: No data
Regional: The current Asian population may be under 20,000 birds
IUCN: Not listed
CITES: Not listed
USFWS:  Not listed

Fun Facts

  1. Mandarin ducks are highly social, flying in large flocks during winter.
  2. Pair bonds are very strong among them and if they survive beyond one breeding season, they will return to the same bond rather than establish new ones.
  3. Females take the initiative in choosing a mate by orienting enticing behavior toward a preferred mate.

Ecology and Conservation

Females take the initiative in choosing a mate by orienting enticing behavior toward a preferred mate.

This species is not hunted for food because they taste bad, which has consequently helped them survive.


Austin, G. Birds of the World. New York. Golden Press, Inc., 1961.

Gooders, J., and T. Boyer. Ducks of North America and the Northern Hemisphere. Facts on File Publications, 1986.

Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. UK. Blandford Books Ltd., 1981.

Johnsgard, P. Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World. Lincoln. Univ. Of Neb. Press, 1978.

Scott, P. A Coloured Key of the Wildfowl of the World. Slimbridge, England. The Wildfowl Trust. 1988.

Todd, F.S. Natural History of Waterfowl. San Diego, Ca. Ibis Publishing Co., 1996.$narrative.html