The Mandarin duck (perching duck species) which is a colourful duck from eastern Asia was recently spotted in Assam after 118 years.

Points To Note

  • Mandarin duck has raised hopes for the wetland which was affected by a blowout and inferno at a natural gas well in 2020.
  • It was spotted by the team of avian specialists in the Maguri-Motapung Beel of Tinsukia district in eastern Assam.
  • It is the habitat of eastern China and southern Japan. It landed in Assam too by accident.
  • The Mandarin duck does not come regularly to India. But some of the ducks may join other migratory birds and follow their migration path.
  • They accompanied a flock of Indian spot-billed duck that was migrated either to China or Japan.
  • The last Mandarin duck was spotted in Assam in 1902.

About Mandarin duck

The scientific name of mandarin duck is Aix galericulata and it is a perching duck species which is native to the East Palearctic. The mandarin duck is medium-sized with 41–49 cm in length and 65–75 cm of wingspan. It is closely related to North American wood duck.

Population of the duck

The mandarin ducks were once widespread in East Asia region. But they were exported on large-scale so the population reduced in the eastern Russia and China. Further, the destruction of its forest habitat further accelerated the reduction in population so much so that the population reduced below 1,000 pairs in each of Russia and China. Japan has an estimated population of around 5000 pairs.

Breeding

They usually prefers the dense breeding grounds. It usually breeds into the shrubby forested edges of rivers and lakes in low-lying areas. It can also breed in valleys at altitudes of 1500 m. It also breeds in marshes, flooded fields, and open rivers during winters. The duck prefers fresh water but are also seen wintering in the coastal lagoons and estuaries.

Mandarin Duck spotted after 118 years in Assam