The Mandarin Duck, Aix galericulata, or just Mandarin, is
a medium-sized perching duck,
closely related to the North American Wood Duck. It is 41-49 cm
long with a 65-75 cm wingspan.
adult male is a striking and unmistakable bird.
It has a red bill, large white crescent above the eye and reddish
face and "whiskers".
The breast is purple with two vertical white bars, and the flanks
with two orange "sails" at the back.
The female is similar to female Wood Duck, with a white eye-ring
and stripe running back
from the eye, but is paler below, has a small white flank stripe,
and a pale tip to its bill.
which are referred to by the Chinese as Yuan-yang, are frequently
featured in Oriental art and are
regarded as a symbol of conjugal affection and fidelity.
A Chinese proverb
for loving couples uses the Mandarin Duck as a metaphor:
"Two mandarin ducks playing in water" (pinyin: yuan
yang xì shui).
The Mandarin Duck symbol is also used in Chinese weddings,
because in traditional Chinese lore they symbolize
wedded bliss and fidelity.
The species was
once widespread in eastern Asia, but large-scale exports and
the destruction of its forest habitat has
reduced populations in eastern Russia and in China to well
below 1,000 pairs, although Japan may have around
frequently escape from collections, and in the 20th century
a feral population numbering about
1,000 pairs was established in Great Britain. Although this
is of great conservational significance, the birds are
not protected in the UK since the species is not native there.
wild, Mandarin Ducks breed in densely wooded areas near shallow
lakes, marshes or ponds.
They nest in cavities in trees close to water. Shortly after
the ducklings hatch, their mother flies to the ground
and coaxes the ducklings to leap from the nest, as shown in
this exciting video:
from the video, in case you can't get it in.
1) Mother calling from ground. 2) Chicks looking down. 3) Here comes
the first one... 4) Happily together.
The Asian populations
overwintering in lowland eastern China and southern Japan.
Mandarins feed by dabbling
or walking on land.
They mainly eat plants and seeds, especially beechmast.
They feed mainly near dawn or dusk, perching in trees or on the
ground during the day.
Wood Duck taking off from
Wood Duck or Carolina Duck, Aix sponsa, is a species of duck
found in North America.
It is one of the most colourful of North American waterfowl.
(See map below)
The Wood Duck is a medium-sized perching duck. A typical adult
is from 47 to 54 cm in length with a wingspan of
between 66 to 73 cm . This is about three-quarters of the length
of an adult Mallard.
It shares its genes with the
Asian Mandarin Duck, Aix galericulata. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_Duck
breeding habitat is wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes or
ponds, and creeks in eastern North America,
the west coast of the United States and western Mexico. They
usually nest in cavities in trees close to water, although
they will take advantage of nesting boxes in wetland locations
if available. Females line their nests with feathers and other
soft materials, and the elevation provides some protection from
predators. Unlike most other ducks, the Wood Duck
has sharp claws for perching in trees and can, in southern regions,
produce two broods in a single seasonthe only
North American duck that can do so.
Females typically lay between 7 and 15 white-tan eggs that incubate
for an average of 30 days. However, if nesting
boxes are placed too close together, females may lay eggs in
the nests of their neighbours, which may lead to nests
which may contain as many as 30 eggs and unsuccessful incubation,
a behaviour known as "nest dumping".
After hatching, the ducklings jump down from the nest tree and
make their way to water. The mother calls them to her,
but does not help them in any way. The ducklings may jump from
heights of up to 88 metres without injury.
They prefer nesting over water so the young have a soft landing,
but will nest up to 140 m away from the shoreline.
The day after they hatch, the young climb to the nest entrance
and jump to the ground. The ducklings can swim and
find their own food by this time.
These birds feed by dabbling or walking on land. They mainly
eat berries, acorns, and seeds, but also insects,
making them omnivores. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_Duck
(light green), wintering (blue) and all year around (dark green) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_Duck
hartlaubii, No: Mahogniand
The Hartlaub's Duck, Pteronetta hartlaubii,
is a dark chestnut-coloured duck of African forests. Formerly
in the paraphyletic "perching duck" assemblage, it
was later moved to the dabbling duck assemblage. However, it
is fairly distinct from the "typical" dabbling ducks,
and is placed in the monotypic genus Pteronetta to reflect this.
Analysis of mtDNA sequences suggests that it belongs into a
very distinct cladepossibly a subfamily of its own
together with the Blue-winged Goose, another African species
of waterfowl with uncertain affinities.
Hartlaub's Duck is resident in equatorial West and Central Africa,
from Guinea and Sierra Leone east through Nigeria
to Sudan, and south to Gabon, Congo and Zaire.
bird is named after the German naturalist Gustav Hartlaub.
The species is found in forested areas, in particular
in secluded marshes and pools within dense, swampy, lowland
evergreen forest and gallery forest. It is also found along
small rivers and streams in well-wooded savanna areas,
and is recorded from salt pans in Congo and Cameroon . It requires
areas of open water such as large rivers or lakes
on which to moult . The species is sedentary throughout its
range and only local movements have been recorded.
It is likely to breed between August and November, although
this is not certain as no nest has ever been found in the wild.
The species is normally encountered dispersed in pairs or small
groups during both the breeding and non-breeding seasons, but
it is known to aggregate into larger flocks (> 30 birds)
on open water whilst undergoing moult.
The species generally feeds nocturnally, its
diet consisting of aquatic invertebrates (insects, arachnids,
molluscs, Mulusca), seeds and roots . No nest has ever
been found in the wild, however observations from captive populations
suggest that nest sites are most likely to be in tree holes
and hollow trees or occasionally one the ground amongst dense
cover. Here is an interesting opportunity to have exiting Africa-safaris,
for the one who wants to get his name in the books......
The primary threat to this species is habitat loss due to
forest destruction . Other threats include hunting, increases
slash-and-burn cultivation, water pollution from mining and
poison-fishing, and hydrological changes owing to logging.
However, in Cameroon and Nigeria, it appears to survive even
in very disturbed areas and the Central Africa populations
are not considered to be threatened . The species is hunted
and traded at traditional medicine markets in Nigeria. BirdLife International (2010)
Species factsheet: Pteronetta hartlaubii.
Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 1/11/2010
Comb Duck, Knob-billed Duck, Sarkidiornis melanotos
Male, taken at
Disney's Animal Kingdom by Raul654 on January 16, 2005 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Comb_duck.jpg
The Knob-billed Duck, Sarkidiornis melanotos,
or Comb Duck, is an unusual, pan-tropical duck, found in tropical
wetlands in sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar and south Asia from
Pakistan to Laos and extreme southern China.
It also occurs in continental South America south to the Paraguay
River region in eastern Paraguay, southeastern Brazil
and the extreme northeast of Argentina, and as a vagrant on
It is the only known species of the genus Sarkidiornis.
This common species is unmistakable. It is one of the largest
species of duck. Length can range from 56 to 76 cm,
wingspan ranges from 116 to 145 cm and weight from 1.03 to 2.9
kg. Adults have a white head freckled with dark spots,
and a pure white neck and underparts. The upperparts are glossy
blue-black upperparts, with bluish and greenish iridescence
especially prominent on the secondaries (lower arm feathers).
The male is much larger than the female, and has a large
black knob on the bill. Young birds are dull buff below and
on the face and neck, with dull brown upperparts, top of
the head and eyestripe.
The Knob-billed Duck is silent except for a low croak when flushed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knob-billed_Duck
Lahugala Kitulana National
Park, Sri Lanka
Photo: BS Thurner Hof
There are two easily-distinguished subspecies, in fact, some taxonomists
consider them to be distinct species: 1.) Knob-billed Duck, Sarkidiornis
melanotos melanotos (also called Nakta in South Asia)
or Old World
Knob-billed Duck, Sarkidiornis melanotos melanotos,
from the Old World
Larger; flanks lighter (light grey, in females sometimes whitish)
2.) Comb Duck, Sarkidiornis melanotos
sylvicola, from South America
Smaller; flanks darker (black in males, medium grey in females).
It breeds in still freshwater swamps and lakes
in the tropics. It is largely resident, apart from dispersion
in the wet season.
This duck feeds on vegetation by grazing or dabbling and to
a lesser extent on small fish, invertebrates, and seeds.
It can become a problem to rice farmers. Knob-billed Ducks often
perch in trees. They are typically seen in flocks,
small in the wet season, up to 100 in the dry season. Sometimes
they separate according to sex.
The Knob-billed Duck is declining in numbers locally, but due
to its wide range it is not considered globally threatened
by the IUCN. It is one of the species to which the Agreement
on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory
African birds breed during and after the rainy season and may
not breed if the rain is scanty.
Knob-billed Ducks nest mainly in tree holes, also in tall grass.
They line their nests with reeds, grass, or feathers, but not
down. Males may have two mates at once or up to five in succession.
They defend the females and young but not the
nest sites. Unmated males perch in trees and wait for opportunities
Females lay 7 to 15 yellowish-white eggs. Several females may
lay in a single "dump nest" containing up to 50 eggs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knob-billed_Duck
moschata, No: Knoppand (Moskusand) am
in Texas, USA. Male on right and female on right. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cairina_moschata_-Texas_-USA-8.jpg
The Muscovy Duck, Cairina moschata, is a large duck
which is native to Mexico and Central and South America.
A small wild population reaches into the United States in the
lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. There also are feral
breeding populations in North America in and around public parks
in nearly every state of the USA and in the Canadian
provinces; feral populations also exist in Europe.
Although the Muscovy Duck is a tropical bird, it adapts to icy
and snowy conditions down to 12°C and below
without ill effects. In general, "Barbary Duck" is
the usual term for Cairina moschata in a culinary context
Head of a Muscovy
Duck (Cairina moschata) at Estrela Garden, Lisbon
The Muscovy drake's distinctive
facial characteristics are unlike those of any other duck Photo
All Muscovy Ducks have long claws on their feet and a wide
flat tail. In the domestic drake (male), length is about 86
and weight is 4.66.8 kg , while the domestic hen (female)
is much smaller, at 64 cm in length and 2.73.6 kg in weight.
Large domesticated males often weigh up to 8 kg , and large
domesticated females up to 5 kg . One male of an Australian
breed weighed about 10 kg.
The true wild Muscovy Duck, from which all domesticated Muscovys
originated, is blackish, with large white wing patches. Length
can range from 66 to 84 cm , wingspan from 137 to 152 cm and
weight from 1.14.1 kg in wild Muscovys.
Ung knoppand. Photo:
Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez
Duck, Cairina scutulata, No:Jungeland as
White-winged Wood Duck
at Bristol Zoo, Bristol, England. Photo:
Adrian Pingstone in August 2003 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:White-winged.wood.duck.arp.jpg
The White-winged Duck
or White-winged Wood Duck, Asarcornis scutulata, is a
large species of duck,
formerly placed in the genus Cairina and allied with the dabbling
ducks. However, the biogeographical pattern of
distribution indicate that the anatomical similarity to the
Muscovy Duck is deceiving.Thus, this species might more
appropriately be placed in a monotypic genus, as Asarcornis
scutulata, which appears to be unrelated to the
Muscovy Duck but closer to the diving ducks. It isn't difficult
to get confused.....We still list it as Cairina.
Historically, the White-winged Duck was widely distributed
from north-east India and Bangladesh, through
South East Asia to Java and Sumatra. It is extinct in Java.
In India, the duck is found only in the northeastern
part of the country with main concentration in eastern Assam
and adjacent areas of Arunachal Pradesh.
However, in 2002 it had a population of only 800, with about
200 in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia,
150 on Sumatra, notably in Way Kambas National Park and 450
in India, Bangladesh and Burma http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-winged_Wood_Duck
duck (Cairina scutulata, adult and ducklings leaving nesting hollow
BBC Natural History Unit www.arkive.org
This is one of the largest species of duck. Length
is 6681 cm and wingspan is 116153 cm. Males weigh
while females weigh 1.953.05 kg. The most noticeable feature
on adult birds is a dark body contrasting with the a whitish
head and neck. Males have mostly dull yellowish bill, blackish
mottling on head and upper neck, white lesser and median
coverts and inner edges of tertials and bluish-grey secondaries.
In flight, white wing-coverts contrast with the rest of the
wings. Females are smaller and usually have more densely mottled
head and upper neck. The juvenile is duller and browner.
This secretive species is only known to feed at night. Its diet
consists of seeds, aquatic plants, grain, rice, snails, small
and insects. It inhabits stagnant or slow-flowing natural and
artificial wetlands, within or adjacent to evergreen, deciduous
or swamp forests, on which it depends for roosting and nesting,
usually in tree-holes. Although lowlands (below c.200 m)
provide optimum habitat, it occurs up to 1,400 m, especially
on plateaux supporting sluggish perennial rivers and pools.
They tend to nest in tree cavities, and are threatened in
part since the destruction of hollow trees is destroying their
localities. The draining of swamps and rivers and other forms
of habitat destruction is also destroying the habitat that
could survive in. Additional threats include loss of genetic
variability, disturbance, hunting, and collection of eggs
chicks for food or pets http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-winged_Wood_Duck
The Freckled Duck, Stictonetta naevosa, is a moderately
large, broad-bodied duck native to southern Australia.
The duck is protected by law. Dark in colour with fine off-white
speckles all over, it is most easily identified by its large
head with a peaked (as opposed to rounded) crown.
This species was formerly allied with the dabbling ducks, but
is now placed in a monotypic subfamily Stictonettinae.
The Freckled Duck feeds by dabbling in shallow water, often
by wading near the edge. It prefers large, well-vegetated swamps,
but moves to open water after breeding or in dry periods.
In flight, it has a distinctive rapid wing beat and holds its
head low, making it look rather hunchbacked.
It does not turn rapidly and lands clumsily. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freckled_Duck
In dry years, the ephemeral wetlands of the Murray-Darling
Basin and Lake Eyre disappear and Freckled Ducks
to permanent water in coastal regions. This concentration in
populated areas, coupled with their habit of circling repeatedly
at low altitude when disturbed (even when being shot at) makes
them particularly vulnerable to hunting.
Although protected by law in all states, the reality is that
hunters continue to shoot Freckled Duck.
During the 1979-83 drought, for example, the population was
reduced by about 5%. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freckled_Duck