Meet the Mandarin duck, often regarded as the most beautiful bird on the planet, and you’ll understand why.
It’s unlike any other animal we’ve ever seen, with its brightly colored plumage and unusual form.
They can still be found in large numbers in their native East Asia, as well as in the United Kingdom.
The Mandarins brought them over from China in the twentieth century, but some of them escaped and established their own feral colony, which is how their population was cultivated in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world.
They are multi-colored, as you can see from the images. The bird has a red beak, a white crescent above its eyes, an orange face, and ‘whiskers.’
The sides of the breast are bronze-colored and the breast is purple. The top of the back is blue, with two orange’sails’ that stand up like a boat sail right below it.
This coloration is only found in the males of the species. The female has a somewhat duller grey colouring with white striped eyes and a white speckled breast.
It’s possible to see one of these guys in North America, but it’s incredibly unusual. You might recall Trevor, the ‘famous’ Mandarin duck from Vancouver who went viral.
Because these beautiful ducks have no natural predators in the west, there was concern that they would become invasive when they were unintentionally brought.
Mandarin ducks like thick, shrubby places, such as riverbanks, to reside and reproduce.
Despite the fact that they may reproduce in valleys and at high altitudes, they prefer to be closer to freshwater.
They generally consume plants and seeds, although depending on the season, they have been known to add the occasional snail, bug, or tiny fish to their diet.
The most serious threat to the Mandarin is habitat loss due to deforestation. They aren’t on any endangered species lists.