Mandarin duck, it seems to me, is the most beautiful duck on earth. They were nicknamed tangerines for their bright plumage — in China, noble beautifully dressed nobles were called tangerines.
Mandarin duck is a small duck weighing from 0.4 to 0.7 kilograms. The breeding attire of the male mandarin duck is clearly distinguished from other ducks by the very colorful color of the plumage. In fact, this duck has an extremely unusual look. The drakes look especially impressive. Throughout almost the entire year — from September to July, these ducks wear a wedding dress. On the head and neck, long feathers form a large crest and peculiar “whiskers”, so the male’s head looks quite large from the side. And the last feather of the wing is crowned with a wide orange fan, which, with folded wings, rises up. Two such feathers are folded on the back into a characteristic “saddle”. Green, purple, orange-red, white and brown are intertwined in color. The beak of the mandarin is red, and the legs are orange. Females look more elegant than drakes, but they lack bright colors in their plumage: the back is olive-brown, the head is ash-gray, and the abdomen is almost white. There is only a small crest on the head.
From the family of duck tangerines, it is not only the bright appearance that distinguishes. They have a completely different voice: not quacking like others, but rather squeaking or whistling softly
The only one of all ducks, they live in trees, and their hollows can be located at a height of over 6 meters. On the one hand, this seems very inconvenient for the chicks, who, like all ducklings, are trying to learn to swim as soon as they are born. However, the chicks jump from great heights and still remain unharmed. At their mother’s command, they dive out of the hollow and land, using their immature wings and webbed feet to stop their fall.
Frogs, as well as acorns, are a favorite delicacy of tangerines. Of course, the diet also contains a lot of “dishes” from plant seeds, fish, salamanders, etc., but the first two are key. To eat acorns, tangerines sit on oaks, and also pick them up on the slopes of hills or in the water. The flight of this duck is very fast and maneuverable: from the ground and from the water they rise equally freely and almost vertically.
At the present time, the nesting of the mandarin duck in Russia is concentrated in the Amur and Sakhalin regions, in the Khabarovsk and Primorsky territories, as a rule, in the Amur River basin. The northernmost nesting point on the eastern slopes of the Sikhote-Alin is the Botchi River. In the southern part, the distribution area covers the entire Primorye, except for areas where there are no forests. On Sakhalin, the duck lives in the southern and central regions. Outside of Russia, it is also found in Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea, and some individuals were even found in eastern Mongolia. In the northern territories, mandarin ducks lead a migratory lifestyle, in the south of the range they are sedentary. For the winter, they move to Taiwan, southern China, as well as the Japanese islands.
The total population of the mandarin duck around the world barely exceeds 25 thousand pairs, of which there are no more than 15 thousand pairs in Russia. They are listed in the Red Book of Russia, hunting for these waterfowl is prohibited by the law of the Russian Federation. In order to save the tangerine as a species, all you need to do is move the start date for the autumn bird hunting in Primorye to the end of September, when most of the tangerines are already sent to warmer climes