The Mandarin Ducks of the East
The Mandarin duck (or Mandarin) has been introduced to the world from China, where the bird is first thought to be originated. However, this oriental duck is also native in Japan, Taiwan, Russia and Korea. The scientific name for this kind of bird is Aix Galericulata. In China, they call the Mandarin duck 'Yuan Yang', and the Chinese regard them as very beautiful birds. The Mandarin duck is a medium-sized bird and somewhat related to the wood duck (Aix sponsa) of North America.
The bird is very ornate, and the male duck has exotic feathers on its head and neck. The cheeks are white and a broad black band extends from its short orange bill (may also appear as red) over the crown to the nape of the neck. The feathers on the side of its face is long and orange, the breast and back are black and the 'sails' on the back are orange, has a white belly and its side is also kind of orange. The female duck is less ornate than the male, and has a grey head, the back is brown and the breasts and flanks (side ribs) are spotted grey.
Mandarins can be found living in the wild especially in wooded areas often in mountainous places adjoining shallow lakes, ponds or marshes, and also in slow-flowing rivers with vegetation. The hollows of trees are used by them for nesting, and usually close to the waters. They have a healthy diet accordingly and consists of acorns, grains, seeds, plants, fish, snails and other particular insects. They can bee seen feeding in water by dabbling or walking on the ground, especially near dawn or dusk. However, their diet changes according to the seasons, so in the autumn and winter seasons, grains and acorns are mostly likely to be on their menu. Spring season, they choose to eat aquatic plants, fish, insects or snails, and in the summer, they eat frogs, little snakes or worms.
Mother with Ducklings
Their mating season is in spring and the females lay between 6-10 eggs which they incubate on their own for less than 30 days or so, but that does not mean the male duck will leave the female permanently, but temporarily until the eggs have hatched. As soon as the eggs are hatched and ducklings are out, the mother duck will fly to the ground from the tree hole where the nest is, and persuade the baby mandarins to jump out from the nest. Surprisingly, the little ducks land on the ground without scratches or injuries. What is more surprising is that the tree holes can be high as 7-9 meters off the ground. The father duck then joins and consoles the chicks.
Father with Ducklings
Since the Mandarin duck has been introduced to the world, they have become very popular in several European countries. In Britain and Ireland, in Europe, the Mandarin duck has become an official resident. They are very easy to recognize by their features generally explained above. Furthermore, the ducks may measure between 42 to 52 centimeters in length, and their wingspan is between 65 to 75 centimeters. The Mandarin ducks are also threatened by people hunting them for food, and predators preying on them. Sometimes in flight, the hunters are unable to identify them and many are shot by accident. Raccoon dogs, otters, grass snakes are some of the predators of the Mandarin duck.
Mother Calling the Chicks to Leap from the Tree
It is also believed in mythology and Feng Shui, that Mandarin ducks are good symbols of love. In other words, they are acknowledged as significant symbols of longer lasting relationships in couples. This is what made them famous Feng Shui symbols due to the fact they can heal problems in unhappy relationships. Remarkably, Mandarin ducks can bring this healing power in the form of a photo or a painting, even small statues are used as Feng Shui to help married couples to cure or enhance their love life, bring devotion or increase faithfulness.
This may seem skeptical and critical by many people, however, the ducks observations in their natural habitat shows that they are always together. The probability of seeing one Mandarin duck alone is very low, unless of course the female is incubating and the father is somewhere nearby waiting for the chicks to hatch, but that's out of the question. According to the myths, every Mandarin duck eventually finds a partner and they always stay together forever. In the unfortunate circumstances of separation, which is rare, the two lovers will always yearn for each other and may die of loneliness. One has to totally believe in this spiritual or magical phenomena of this miraculous Feng Shui of Mandarin ducks proving to bring harmony and bliss to many couples in the world, thus bringing great results.
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