Mandarin Duck. Colourful mandarin drake on a sheltered Peak District pond. These stunning birds return here every winter in good numbers and nest in the surrounding woodland. Despite being non native mandarins have adapted well to life in the UK and now have a large breeding population.
Mandarin ducks are widely considered to be the world’s most beautiful duck. Native to Japan and China, mandarins were imported to Britain in the mid-18th century and featured in many private wildfowl collections. After a series of escapes; the first being near Cobham in Surrey, the birds eventually established a breeding population in the mid 1930s. Mandarins favour small wooded ponds rather than large open bodies of water and nest in a hole or cavity in a tree trunk. After they hatch, the newborn ducklings leap from the nest and float down to the ground, using their fluffy down to slow down the descent and soften the landing ensuring they don’t get hurt.
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