Aix galericulata (Linnaeus, 1758)
Family: Anseriformes > Anatidae
The drake Mandarin Duck is gaudy and one of our most resplendent ducks. The female is contrastingly conservative, a smart grey and brown.
A timid duck of river valleys and small waterbodies with well-vegetated margins. These small ducks nest in tree cavities and will use nest boxes. Up to 12 ducklings jump from the nest before they can fly and follow the female to the nearest water.
Native of Asia, the Mandarin Duck became naturalized in the UK in the 20th century and is now found across England and parts of Scotland and Wales, with the Wetland Bird Survey reporting an upward UK trend. Outside of the breeding season, Mandarin Ducks gather in flocks relatively close to their breeding sites, although bird ringing has revealed a few long-distance movements.
Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Mandarin Duck
Mandarin Duck identification is usually straightforward.
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Status and Trends
Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.
The causes of change are uncertain. However, the increases following introduction may have been aided by lack of intraspecific competition and the ability of this species to exploit a previously unoccupied habitat; there is no evidence yet that density-dependent effects have slowed the rate of increase.
|UK breeding population||+96% increase (2010–2020)|
|UK winter population||+213% increase (1995/96 to 2020/21)|
Away from the swathe of records in southern and central England, the breeding distribution map shows tight clustering in areas of suitable breeding habitat such as Jersey, south Devon, Kielder Forest in Northumberland, Argyll Forest Park and around Inverness and Berwick. They are scarce in Wales.
Occupied 10-km squares in UK
|No. occupied in breeding season||499|
|% occupied in breeding season||17|
|No. occupied in winter||595|
|% occupied in winter||20|
European Distribution Map
There has been considerable range expansion since the 1988–91 Breeding Atlas, particularly through southern and central England, with an overall 123% increase in range size.
Change in occupied 10-km squares in the UK
|% change in range in breeding season (1968–72 to 2008–11)||+1148.7%|
|% change in range in winter (1981–84 to 2007–11)||+336.2%|
Mandarin Ducks are localised residents and can be seen throughout the year.
Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.
Lifecycle and body size information about Mandarin Duck, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.
|Number of Broods||1|
|Egg Size||51×37 mm Weight = 41 g (of which 9% is shell)|
|Wing Length||Adults||234.9±8.3 | Range 223–249mm, N=230|
|Juveniles||226.4±10.3 | Range 212-237mm, N=25|
|Males||239.4±8.5 | Range 230–251mm, N=105|
|Females||231.1±5.9 | Range 220–240mm, N=125|
|Body Weight||Adults||616±64.89 | Range 500–700g, N=188|
|Males||635±52.97 | Range 550–700g, N=85|
|Females||601±69.94 | Range 500–700g, N=103|
Feather measurements and photos on featherbase
|Field Codes||2-letter: MN | 5-letter code: MANDA | Euring: 1780|
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Interpretation and scientific publications about Mandarin Duck from BTO scientists.
Causes of change
No further information is available.
Further information on causes of change
No further information is available.
Information about conservation actions
As a non-native introduced breeding species, this species does not have a conservation status in the UK. The native population in Asia is currently classified as being of least concern.
It is believed that the Mandarin Duck is unlikely to have any significant ecological impact on native species, and a risk assessment in the Netherlands classified the species as a low risk (van Kleunen & Lemaire 2015). Although this may also be the case across most of England, there are concerns that the species may impact on other hole-nesting ducks (e.g. Goldeneye and Goosander), particularly in the core Goldeneye breeding area in northern Scotland (Cosgrove 2003), and hence policy makers may need to consider whether any conservation action may be required in order to protect these native breeding species.
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