Mandarin Duck

Mandarin Duck
Mandarin duck female

Male Mandarin Ducks are striking and extremely colorful and may be the reason why they’re often bred in captivity. They are a patchwork of color and have a long crest and throat feathers and orange ‘sail’ feathers that stick up at the rear.

During molting, the males resemble the females, but their bill is red, they don’t have a crest, and they have a less visible eye stripe.  

Female Mandarin Ducks are pretty subdued compared to males. Their heads are brownish-gray, with blue bills. Their bodies are mainly brown.

  • Aix galericulata
  • Length:16 – 19 in (41 – 49 cm) 
  • Weight: 15 – 24 oz (430 – 690 g)
  • Wingspan: 26 – 30 in (65 – 75 cm)


Mandarin Ducks are originally from East Asia but have found their way to the United States after escaping captivity and then reproducing in the wild.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Mandarin Ducks in dense woodland and forest edges near water when in their native habitat. In other areas, they are seen in marshes, coastal lagoons, lake edges, water meadows, and cultivated, wooded areas.

You may also spot them perched in trees, as they are one of the rare ducks that do. 

Mandarin Ducks are omnivorous, which means they eat both plants and animals, and this changes depending on the season. In winter, they may have a limited diet of acorns and grains. In spring, they eat insects, snails, fish, and aquatic plants, and summer brings more choices like small fish, frogs, mollusks, and snakes.

Mandarin Duck Calls:

Male Mandarin Duck

Female Mandarin Duck


Nests of Mandarin Ducks are found in cavities in trees that are close to water sources. They often use abandoned woodpecker nests but have been known to use nest boxes as well. The female lays between seven to fourteen eggs which she incubates for up to thirty days.

The male guards the female and the nest but nothing more than that. 

Fun Fact:

In China, Mandarin Ducks are regarded as signs of fidelity and so are given as gifts at weddings. However, they are not monogamous and form new pairs each year!