Mandarin Ducks are strikingly beautiful. They are closely related to the Wood Duck (Aix sponsa), which is not surprising once you see how colorful both of the male birds are. The male Mandarin has tan sides, a multicolored head which is green and rusty with a white crescent running through the eye. The breast is a deep purple with two white vertical bars on each side. The bill is bright red. The most striking feature of the duck is the orange "sails" that rise up over the duck's back, a unique feature that makes identifying the bird quite easy.
Mandarins are native to eastern Asia where exportation and destruction of forest habitat have greatly reduced their numbers. There are populations in eastern Russia, China and Japan. In addition, they are popular additions to personal bird collections and zoos around the world.
Mandarin Duck photo by: Adrian Pingstone taken from wikimedia
Wood Duck photo by: BS Thurner Hor taken from wikimedia
I wish I would have noted what year and what time of year it was when we saw the Mandarin Duck several years ago (I need to start a bird calendar). I can't remember when that was, note to self start bird calendar. I also wish I would have been able to take my own picture of the Mandarin Duck, hopefully I will see one again and have my camera at the ready.
Mandarin Duck, (n.d.), Retrieved October 21, 2009 from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandarin_Duck