Our Beautiful World

Mandarin Duck, Aix galericulata  
and other ducks
to be translated soon

© Jan Harteman

Family: Anatidae
Genus: different

Aix galericulata, Mandarin Duck, Mandarinand as
Aix sponsa, Wood Duck, Brudeand na
Pteronetta hartlaubii,
Hartlaub's Duck, Mahogniand af
Sarkidiornis melanotos,
Comb Duck, Kamand Knob-billed Duck af
Cairina moschata,
Muscovy Duck, Knoppand (moskusand) am
Cairina scutulata, White-winged Duck,
Jungeland as
Stictonetta naevosa,
Freckled Duck, Fregneand oc

Mandarin Duck, Aix galericulata

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.

The 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 ruddy,
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.

© Jan Harteman

Mandarin Ducks, 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
5,000 pairs.

© Jan Harteman

Specimens 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.

In the 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.

Pictures 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 are migratory, 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.

Mandarins may form small flocks in winter, but rarely associate with other ducks.
Text: http://en.wikipedia.org

Wood Duck, Aix sponsa, No: Brudeand na

Wood Duck taking off from ice, Dec.08.

The 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.


Their 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 season—the 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.

Breeding (light green), wintering (blue) and all year around (dark green)

Hartlaub's Duck, Pteronetta hartlaubii, No: Mahogniand af

The Hartlaub's Duck, Pteronetta hartlaubii, is a dark chestnut-coloured duck of African forests. Formerly included
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 clade—possibly 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.

This 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 tropical
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, crustaceans and
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 in
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

Kamand Comb Duck, Knob-billed Duck, Sarkidiornis melanotos af

Male, taken at Disney's Animal Kingdom by Raul654 on January 16, 2005

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 Trinidad.

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.

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).

Hunnfugl, Sarkidiornis melanotos, i Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
Photo © J.M. Garg

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
Waterbirds applies.

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 to mate.

Females lay 7 to 15 yellowish-white eggs. Several females may lay in a single "dump nest" containing up to 50 eggs.

Muscovy Duck, Cairina moschata, No: Knoppand (Moskusand) am

Muscovy Ducks in Texas, USA. Male on right and female on right.

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 by Alvesgaspar

All Muscovy Ducks have long claws on their feet and a wide flat tail. In the domestic drake (male), length is about 86 cm
and weight is 4.6–6.8 kg , while the domestic hen (female) is much smaller, at 64 cm in length and 2.7–3.6 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 1.1–4.1 kg in wild Muscovys.

Ung knoppand.
Photo: Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez

White-winged Duck, Cairina scutulata, No:Jungeland as

White-winged Wood Duck at Bristol Zoo, Bristol, England.
Photo: Adrian Pingstone in August 2003

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

This is one of the largest species of duck. Length is 66–81 cm and wingspan is 116–153 cm. Males weigh 2.95–3.9 kg,
while females weigh 1.95–3.05 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 fish
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 nesting
localities. The draining of swamps and rivers and other forms of habitat destruction is also destroying the habitat that they
could survive in. Additional threats include loss of genetic variability, disturbance, hunting, and collection of eggs and
chicks for food or pets

Freckled Duck, Stictonetta naevosa, No:Fregneand oc

Freckled Duck, Stictonetta naevosa, female; wild bird
Photo: Glen Fergus

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.

Male and female at Sylvan Heights Waterfowl, USA
Photo: © Jan Harteman

In dry years, the ephemeral wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin and Lake Eyre disappear and Freckled Ducks migrate
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%.


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