Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Magnificent Mandarin.

Something today from the 'spring' archives. Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) is an introduced alien for the Far East and was first released in Britain in the 18th century but didn't really prosper until around the 1930's when it probably first bred in the wild.
When the male displays he raises his orange 'sails', extends his colourful crest then dips his bill in the water before stretching his head and passing it back behind his 'sails' and then produces an excited breathy whistle....what female could ignore that? 
The female is much drabber looking with her white spectacles and a narrow line curving back towards the nape (not unlike her cousin the Wood Duck which has a darker head with a thicker white eye-ring which stretches into a shorter triangular shape).  It nests in holes of trees, often Oaks, up to 15 metres above the ground and it is not uncommon for me to find them chilling out way above my head in woodland surrounding a local pond where they regularly breed each year.
During the breeding season this duck is very, very secretive and even when the youngsters take to water the female is extremely protective and will steer them into cover at the slightest disturbance. I have only seen one female with four charges this year and she wouldn't let me take their photos so below is an image from 2009.
  
A brood of eight is not uncommon but rare for half of these to reach beyond juvenile status!
Unlike some alien introductions the Mandarin is a real charmer........FAB.

24 comments:

  1. Oh WOW Frank. The mandarin is gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. Oh how I love its color. Nice going. Carol

    ReplyDelete
  2. Talk about a beautiful duck! Even the female! Doesn't even look as if it could be real!~Karen

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fabulous! He is just so beautiful, and oh, all those colors!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a gorgeous bird and your pictures capture them beautifully!

    ReplyDelete
  5. ...he is a charmer and quite beautiful. I've finally threw on the brakes and decided enough was enough. It's time to relax and slow down. I've been spending time going through past posts. Pass on to Anita I liked her card. I make my own cards too. it's so much more fun to receive homemade cards... and I love those mugs wit the birds on them. Makes me think of Marjolein Bastin's illustrations, which I love. I have to go over the "boots" post again (one of my favorite songs!)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I seem to remember this dapper duck from last year. What a wonderful pair of creatures!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nice shots Frank. It's easy to see why someone would want to bring this exotic home with them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. How gorgeous! Hooray for the madarin duck being intro'd to the UK, huh?! I'm glad you pulled these shots from your archives Frank, love seeing them!

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's all in the Title.
    Fab Images Frank.
    John.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Carol. Sure is. Thanks.

    KaHolly. Definitely REAL Karen.

    Mona. Makes all the others look a little drab!

    Cindy. Ta very much.

    Kelly. Thanks my friend. I've responded direct.

    Steve B. You have a very good memory.

    Steve Willson. Sure stands out in a crowd!

    Jann E. Definitely and probably the most colourful introduction.

    JRandSue. Cheers John.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Frank, the mandarins are extremely beautiful. I love the female, and obviously the male does, regardless of her drab colours.


    Beautiful captures......

    ReplyDelete
  12. Cheryl. Personally I think the female is just as interesting as her gaudy mate.

    ReplyDelete
  13. They are beauties Frank.
    We have a small breeding group near here. Lovely to see them.

    ReplyDelete
  14. They are beautiful ducks, they are my favourites Frank.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Keith. We are both fortunate to have these beauties close at hand.

    Bob B. Certainly one of my top ten.

    Roy. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. WOW, what gorgeous ducks, that male is absolutely a handsome chap and the female, is very attractive as well, The feathers, the colourations, the way he holds himself, just awesome display, great images Frank~ BEAUTISIMO~

    ReplyDelete
  17. That bird's beauty is unbelievable!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Looks like a really beautiful garden Frank. Love all the butterflies you have posted too but your skipper header is stunning.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great photos & beautiful bird - but what really struck me was how similar the female is to the NA Wood duck, leading me to surmise that these two may be closely related. Gives me something to research.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Mary. The male is definitely a show off...lol.

    Amila. I'm sure you have some very colourful species around you.

    SAPhotographs. Thank you for looking me over Joan. This is only the 2nd year I have chased the 'flutters' with the camera and its been fun to share. The garden is currently in desperate need of lots of rain!! We are never satisfied.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Chris. Same family (Aix) and the females are very similar. The males are easy to distinguish apart. Should provide a little light relief when you are resting!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Magnificent photos of a magnificent bird Frank.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks John. It's good to get up close to this species once in a while.

    ReplyDelete

I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.

If 'Word Verification' shows up then it's a Google glitch. Just ignore it and click 'publish' as usual.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails