Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Notice: The Zoo Will Close at 1 p.m. on Friday, August 2 to Prepare for Brew at the Zoo. Admission will end at noon.

Mandarin Duck

Aix galericulata

Mandarin ducks are native to Asia and are particularly revered in China, where they are a symbol of loyalty. The male Mandarin duck is a standout, with perhaps the most ornate features of any duck species. It has a copper-colored crest on its head, a broad white stripe across the eyes, copper neck ruff and teal, black, white and orangey brown markings on its body. The female is grey-brown with a smaller crest, ruff and white eye stripe.

Range & Habitat

Mandarin ducks breed in eastern Siberia, Japan and China, and winter in Japan and southern China. They prefer forested areas near water and often use tree holes as nests.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Formerly abundant, Mandarin duck populations in their native countries in the Far East have declined as a result of habitat destruction (mainly logging), and over-hunting. The global population is currently estimated at 65,000.


In the Wild: Water plants, grain such as rice, small fish, insects, snails and seeds.

At the Zoo: Waterfowl grain mix.

Life Span

In the Wild: 6-12 years
In Human Care: 12+ years

Fun Facts about the Mandarin Duck

  • The Mandarin duck is used as a symbol  for Chinese weddings because they are monogamous and stand for wedded happiness and fidelity.
  • When migrating, Mandarin ducks fly as far as 500 miles in one day!
  • Mandarin ducks are highly social, often flying in large flocks during winter.

Sources website: Mandarin Duck,

IUCN Red List species: Mandarin Duck,

Lincoln Park Zoo/ Animals: Mandarin Duck,

Brevard Zoo: Mandarin Duck,

Updated June 13, 2023
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