The Mandarin duck is a sexually dimorphic species, meaning males and females differ in appearance. The male has a rich, colorful appearance, which includes brown cheeks and a long brown and white crown sweeping back from the top of the head. The chest is dark purple, with black and white stripes, and the wings are brown with an iridescent blue-green edge. This striking coloration helps the male attract the less-colorful females, which display brownish-black plumage with white markings around the eyes and along the throat.
The Mandarin duck can be found in eastern Russia, China and Japan.
The species lives in forest habitats with accessible ponds and streams.
The Mandarin duck feeds primarily on seeds, grains and wetland plants. The species will also add snails, insects and small fish to its diet.
Males and female pairs often remain together for several breeding seasons. The female builds her nest in a tree hole. This nesting spot can reach up to 30 feet above the ground. Soon after hatching, the 9-12 Mandarin ducklings that make up a typical brood leap to the ground in response to the calls of their mother. The chicks land unhurt, afterwards proceeding to the water to feed.
Like all ducks, the Mandarin duck's feet are thin and flat, making it easier for them to paddle through the water.