Male and female mandarin ducks
Male and female mandarin ducks


Mandarin ducks are one of the most beautiful ducks in the world. They are related to the also beautiful Wood duck. Owning Mandarin ducks can be a rewarding hobby. Due to their small size, they are not good for eating as a meat bird.

In the wild, Mandarins perch in trees in dense woods near shallow lakes, marshes, and ponds and nest in tree cavities close to water or in vegetation on the ground. Because they prefer shallow water, a child’s pool can work very well for these birds. A nesting box with the same structure and size as a Wood duck house is ideal.

Mandarins are  highly social. They can be put in the same aviary together without fear of them harming each other. The only time they become somewhat aggressive is when ducklings are involved. They will defend their babies from other Mandarins if they feel the others are too close. If they feel there is a bigger threat to the babies, the mother will pretend to be hurt to draw attention away from the babies, similar to Killdeer birds.

Mandarins are smaller than domestic ducks. They can jump about a foot high and can climb several feet of wire on their first day of life. That’s necessary for them to be able to climb out of the nesting box once they hatch.

Male Mandarins have striking purples, glossy greens, and brownish oranges in their coloring. The females look similar to female Wood ducks or female Mallards, with a few minor differences.

These ducks do not quack like domestic ducks. They make chirping and whistling sounds. They are the perfect pet for areas where loud noises would not be tolerated.

The females choose their mates. Pairs stay together from season to season. This behavior has earned for  the Mandarin duck the Asian symbol for eternal love and fidelity. Both the male and female join forces to hatch and raise the young. There are times when both the father and mother bird are in the nesting box together.