Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Mandarin Duck, Aix galericulata, male. Mandarin ducks are native to Russia, China and Japan and have become somewhat rare in their native habitats, partly due to extensive habitat destruction. They are closely related to the North American Wood Duck and are both perching ducks that nest in tree boles and live in wooded areas near lakes and shallow ponds. They are fairly solitary in nature, generally not associating with large flocks of other ducks. They are revered in Asian culture as symbols of married bliss and fidelity. In Chinese they are called yuan yang. In Korea they give wooden duck carvings as wedding presents, again symbolizing lifelong marriage and fidelity.