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Mandarin Duck, Singapore. by Ralph de Zilva

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Nikon D700 & Nikkor 80-400mm lens

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The adult male is a striking and unmistakable bird. It has a red bill, large white crescent above the eye and reddish face and “whiskers”. The breast is purple with two vertical white bars, and the flanks ruddy, with two orange “sails” at the back. The female is similar to female Wood Duck, with a white eye-ring and stripe running back from the eye, but is paler below, has a small white flank stripe, and a pale tip to its bill. The Mandarin ducklings are almost identical in look to Wood ducklings, and appear very similar to Mallard ducklings. The ducklings can be distinguished from Mallard ducklings because the eye-stripe of Mandarin ducklings (and Wood ducklings) stops at the eye, while in Mallard ducklings it reaches all the way to the bill.

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 large feral population numbering was established in Great Britain; more recently small numbers have bred in Ireland. There now about 7000 in Britain, and other populations on the European continent, the largest in the region of Berlin. Black Mountain, North Carolina also has a limited population. There is also a free-flying feral population of several hundred mandarins in Sonoma County, California. This population is the result of several mandarin ducks escaping from captivity, then going on to reproduce in the wild.

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I have always had a love of capturing images and in my early teens took many photographs on my little Kodak camera. I loved the wild open spaces and bird life in particular and longed to be able to be an accomplished photographer. It took ill health and a forced early retirement to re-kindle this love of photography. I am a self-taught amateur photographer who has had no formal training. I take great pride and joy in my work and these days have the time to pursue this wonderful hobby.

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  • Rachel Williams
    Rachel Williamsover 3 years ago

    Lovely shot. Great colors.

  • Thanks so much Rachel.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • julie08
    julie08over 3 years ago

    A beauty – great shot :)

  • Thanks a lot Julie.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • John Vriesekolk
    John Vriesekolkover 3 years ago

    Wow, such a wonderful coloured bird, beautifully captured Ralph.

  • Thanks very much John for the wonderful comment.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • gail woodbury
    gail woodburyover 3 years ago

    What a beauty – wonderful capture Ralph – Love it !

  • Thanks Gail for your lovely comment.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • Maree Cardinale
    Maree Cardinaleover 3 years ago

    Ralph, what a lovely image!

  • Thanks very much Maree for your wonderful comment and fav.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • Darlene Lankford Honeycutt
    Darlene Lankfo...over 3 years ago

    Fantastic Please submit this to the Amazing Wildlife Group!

  • Thanks so much Darlene. I have already submitted it into the group.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • CeePhotoArt
    CeePhotoArtover 3 years ago

    Congratulations!!! You have been featured in Cee’s Fun Artsy Friends group (clickable banner)

    Please check out our Challenges

  • Thank you so much Cee. Greatly appreciated

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • swaby
    swabyover 3 years ago

    Oh wow gorgeous colors and perfect capture!

  • Thank you very much Tina.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • Dorothy Thomson
    Dorothy Thomsonover 3 years ago

    Amazing capture!!

  • Many thanks Dorothy.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • Russell Couch
    Russell Couchover 3 years ago

    Stunning shot !!!!!

  • Thanks very much Russell.

    – Ralph de Zilva

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