The Mandarin must be one of the most colourful ducks. This male was showing off it's colours at The Lakeland Wildlife Oasis in north Lancashire near Milnthorpe.
The species was once widespread in eastern Asia, but large-scale
exports and the destruction of its forest habitat have reduced
populations in eastern Russia and in China to below 1,000 pairs in
each country; Japan, however, is thought to still hold some 5,000
pairs. Specimens frequently escape from collections, and in the 20th
century a feral population numbering about 1,000 pairs was established
in Great Britain. Although this is of great conservational
significance, the birds are not protected in the UK since the species
is not native there.
In the wild, Mandarin Ducks breed in densely wooded areas near shallow lakes, marshes or ponds. They nest in cavities in trees close to water and during the spring, the females lay their eggs in the tree's cavity after mating. The males take no part in the incubation, simply leaving the female to secure the eggs on her own. However, unlike other species of ducks, the male does not completely abandon the female, leaving only temporarily until the ducklings have hatched. Shortly after the ducklings hatch, their mother flies to the ground and coaxes the ducklings to leap from the nest. After all of the ducklings are out of the tree, they will follow their mother to a nearby body of water where they would usually encounter the father, who will rejoin the family and protect the ducklings with the mother.