A lone and rare Mandarin duck mysteriously appears in New York’s Central Park






This article stopped me in my tracks.  I have never seen a Mandarin Duck, I guess, because this was amazing to me.  So beautiful!  A perfect story for a Sunday.  Enjoy!

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A rare Mandarin duck has mysteriously appeared in New York’s Central Park.

The lone male duck, which is not a common species in the U.S., has been bizarrely spotted several times in the middle of Manhattan in recent weeks.

Mandarin ducks, which are native to East Asia, are known for their multicolored feathers and pink bill.

This lone male Mandarin duck, which is not a common species in the U.S., has been bizarrely spotted several times in the middle of New York's Central Park in recent weeks

This lone male Mandarin duck, which is not a common species in the U.S., has been bizarrely spotted several times in the middle of New York’s Central Park in recent week

The duck was first spotted on October 10, according to a Twitter account that tracks bird sightings in Central Park.

It disappeared for several weeks before reemerging last week in a pond in the park’s southeast corner near 59th and Fifth Avenue.

New Yorkers and tourists have since been flocking to the pond daily to catch a glimpse of the now famous duck.

It is not clear how the lone duck arrived in New York but some have noted that he appears to be able to fly, which is something most domestic ducks can’t do.

The duck was first spotted on October 10 but disappeared for several weeks. It reemerged last week when it started swimming in a pond in the park's south-east corner

The duck was first spotted on October 10 but disappeared for several weeks. It reemerged last week when it started swimming in a pond in the park’s south-east corner

Photos of the rare duck appear to show it wearing a rubber band around its right leg (pictured above), meaning it could be a domestic pet

Photos of the rare duck appear to show it wearing a rubber band around its right leg (pictured above), meaning it could be a domestic pet

City officials have said the Mandarin duck did not come any nearby zoos

City officials have said the Mandarin duck did not come any nearby zoos

It means the bird could have potentially flown in from a nearby city with some bird-watchers saying it was likely the duck had been making trips to and from the Hudson River.

City officials have said the Mandarin duck did not come any nearby zoos.

Photos of the rare duck appear to show it wearing a rubber band around its right leg, meaning it could be a domestic pet.

It is illegal for someone to privately own a duck as a pet in New York City.

Park officials do not plan on removing the duck unless it appears to fall ill or gets in danger.

Mandarin ducks, which are native to East Asia, are known for their multicolored feathers and pink bill

Mandarin ducks, which are native to East Asia, are known for their multicolored feathers and pink bill

New Yorkers and tourists have since been flocking to the pond daily to catch a glimpse of the now famous duck

New Yorkers and tourists have since been flocking to the pond daily to catch a glimpse of the now famous duck

It is not clear how the lone duck arrived in New York but some have noted that he appears to be able to fly, which is something most domestic ducks can't do

FROM WIKIPEDIA (I figured you might want to go there after seeing this article, too)

Mandarin duck

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Mandarin duck
Pair of mandarin ducks.jpg
Male and female mandarin ducks at Martin Mere, UK
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Tetrapodomorpha
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Aix
Species: A. galericulata
Binomial name
Aix galericulata

Synonyms
Anas galericulataLinnaeus, 1758
Korean name
Hangul ??
Hanja ??
Japanese name
Kanji ??
Kana ????

The mandarin duck (Aix galericulata) is a perching duck species found in East Asia. It is medium-sized, at 41–49 cm (16–19 in) long with a 65–75 cm (26–30 in) wingspan. It is closely related to the North American wood duck, the only other member of the genus Aix. Aix is an Ancient Greek word which was used by Aristotle to refer to an unknown diving bird, and galericulata is the Latin for a wig, derived from galerum, a cap or bonnet.[2]

Description

The adult male has a red bill, large white crescent above the eye and reddish face and “whiskers”. The male’s breast is purple with two vertical white bars, and the flanks ruddy, and he has two orange “sails” at the back (large feathers that stick up like boat sails). The female is similar to the 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.[3]

Both the males and females have crests, but the purple crest is more pronounced on the male.

Like many other species of ducks, the male undergoes a moult after the mating season into eclipse plumage. When in eclipse plumage, the male looks similar to the female, but can be told apart by its bright yellow-orange or red beak, lack of any crest, and a less-pronounced eye-stripe.

Mandarin ducklings are almost identical in appearance to wood ducklings, and very similar to mallard ducklings. The ducklings can be distinguished from mallard ducklings because the eye-stripe of mandarin ducklings (and wood ducklings) stops at the eye, while in mallard ducklings it reaches all the way to the bill.[citation needed]

Mutations

Various mutations of the mandarin duck are found in captivity. The most common is the white mandarin duck. Although the origin of this mutation is unknown, the constant pairing of related birds and selective breeding is presumed to have led to recessive gene combinations leading to genetic conditions including leucism.

Distribution and habitat

The native range of the mandarin duck, and parts of its introduced range where it is established breeding
  Breeding     Native resident     Migrant     Winter visitor     Introduced resident

The species was once widespread in East Asia, but large-scale exports and the destruction of its forest habitat have reduced populations in eastern Russia and in China to below 1,000 pairs in each country; Japan, however, is thought to still hold some 5,000 pairs. The Asian populations are migratory, overwintering in lowland eastern China and southern Japan.[4]

Specimens frequently escape from collections, and in the 20th century, a large, feral population was established in Great Britain; more recently, small numbers have bred in Ireland, concentrated in the parks of Dublin. Now, about 7,000 are in Britain, and other populations on the European continent, the largest in the region of Berlin.[5] Isolated populations exist in the United States. The town of Black Mountain, North Carolina, has a limited population,[6] and a free-flying feral population of several hundred mandarins exist in Sonoma County, California. .This population is the result of several ducks escaping from captivity, then reproducing in the wild.[3] A single bird was found in Central Park[7].

The habitats it prefers in its breeding range are the dense, shrubby forested edges of rivers and lakes. It mostly occurs in low-lying areas, but it may breed in valleys at altitudes of up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft). In winter, it additionally occurs in marshes, flooded fields, and open rivers. While it prefers fresh water, it may also be seen wintering in coastal lagoons and estuaries. In its introduced European range, it lives in more open habitat than in its native range, around the edges lakes, water meadows, and cultivated areas with woods nearby.[4]

Behaviour

Breeding

A mother with ducklings in Richmond Park, London, England

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 and during the spring, the females lay their eggs in the tree’s cavity after mating. A single clutch of nine to twelve eggs is laid in April or May. Although the male may defend the brooding female and his eggs during incubation, he himself does not incubate the eggs and leaves before they hatch. Shortly after the ducklings hatch, their mother flies to the ground and coaxes the ducklings to leap from the nest. After all of the ducklings are out of the tree, they will follow their mother to a nearby body of water.[4]

Food and feeding

Male flying in Dublin, Ireland

Mandarins feed by dabbling or walking on land. They mainly eat plants and seeds, especially beech mast. The species will also add snails, insects and small fish to its diet.[8] The diet of mandarin ducks changes seasonally; in the fall and winter, they mostly eat acorns and grains. In the spring, they mostly eat insects, snails, fish and aquatic plants. In the summer, they eat dew worms, small fish, frogs, mollusks, and small snakes.[9] They feed mainly near dawn or dusk, perching in trees or on the ground during the day.[4]

Threats

Predation of the mandarin duck varies between different parts of its range. Mink, raccoon dogs, otters, polecats, Eurasian eagle owls, and grass snakes are all predators of the mandarin duck.[9] The greatest threat to the mandarin duck is habitat loss due to loggers. Hunters are also a threat to the mandarin duck, because often they are unable to recognize the mandarin in flight and as a result, many are shot by accident. Mandarin ducks are not hunted for food, but are still poached because their extreme beauty is prized.[9]

In culture

Chinese culture

A Yuan Dynasty porcelain teapot representing a mandarin duck pair

Porcelain winepot in the form of a mandarin duck, decorated in overglaze enamels, Qing dynasty, circa 1760

The Chinese refer to Mandarin ducks as yuanyang (simplified Chinese: ??; traditional Chinese: ??; pinyin: yu?ny?ng), where yuan (?) and yang (?) respectively stand for male and female mandarin ducks. In traditional Chinese culture, mandarin ducks are believed to be lifelong couples, unlike other species of ducks. Hence they are regarded as a symbol of conjugal affection and fidelity, and are frequently featured in Chinese art.

A Chinese proverb for loving couples uses the mandarin duck as a metaphor: “Two mandarin ducks playing in water” (simplified Chinese: ????; traditional Chinese: ????; pinyin: yu?ny?ng xì shu?). A mandarin duck symbol is also used in Chinese weddings because in traditional Chinese lore, they symbolize wedded bliss and fidelity. Because the male and female plumages of the mandarin duck are so unalike, yuan-yang is frequently used colloquially in Cantonese to mean an “odd couple” or “unlikely pair” – a mixture of two different types of same category. For example, the drink yuanyang and yuan-yang fried rice. Mandarin ducks featured on the flag of Weihaiwei during British rule.

Korean culture

For Koreans, mandarin ducks represent peace, fidelity, and plentiful offspring. Similar to the Chinese, they believe that these ducks mate for life. For these reasons, pairs of mandarin ducks called wedding ducks are often given as wedding gifts and play a significant role in Korean marriage.[10]

Japanese culture

Similarly, in Japanese the ducks are called oshidori (????/????/??) and are used in the phrase oshidori f?fu (??????, “a couple of lovebirds/happily married couple”).



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Only one comment so far...

  1. Mary Ann

    The duck is tagged, my guess is it got away from a breeder. We have a lot of people in our area (greater Kansas City six county area) who are breeder-enthusiasts, and their birds are all tagged. In fact, there are two sales a year where you can buy breeding stock here. it’s a beautiful duck!

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