Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL | 420 mm | 1/25 sec | f/5.6 | 400
Species: A. galericulata
The orange head and ‘sails’ and especially the dramatic, tapering white eye-stripe makes the male unmistakeable. The female is also distinctive with her grey head, pink bill and heavily spotted breast and flanks but you have to check that she’s not a female Wood Duck, another species which sometimes escapes from captivity. The key thing to look at is the shape of the white marking around each eye. In Mandarin Duck this extends backwards from the eye in a long, narrow tapering line, like the outline of white spectacle frames, but in Wood Duck it is shorter, broader and more blunt.
Feral populations nest in holes in trees, usually close to rivers or ornamental lakes, especially where rhododendrons provide waterside cover.