Preening MANDARIN DUCK (Male)
Art in Nature Winner
©Russ Burden, Highlands Ranch, Colorado, USA
The Mandarin Duck or just Mandarin, is a medium-sized perching duck, closely related to the North American Wood Duck. It is 41–49 cm long with a 65–75 cm wingspan.
Unlike other species of ducks, most Mandarin drakes reunite with the hens they mated with along with their offsprings after the eggs have hatched and even share scout duties in watching the ducklings closely. However, even with both parents securing the ducklings, most of them do not survive to adulthood.
Mandarins may form small flocks in winter.
In the eyes of ancient Chinese, Mandarin Ducks form a life-time couple, unlike many other species of ducks. Hence they are frequently featured in Oriental art and are regarded as a symbol of conjugal affection and fidelity.
A Chinese proverb for loving couples uses the Mandarin Duck as a metaphor: “Two mandarin ducks playing in water.”
The Mandarin Duck symbol is also used in Chinese weddings, because in traditional Chinese lore they symbolize wedded bliss and fidelity.
Because the male and female plumages of the Mandarin Duck are so unlike, yuan-yang is frequently used colloquially in Cantonese to mean an “odd couple” or “unlikely pair”.
Fact Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandarin_Duck
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