Mandarin duck (Aix galericulata) aka Rockstar of 2018. This species of duck created a frenzy in a small St Louis County park and Central Park, NYC.
His colorful plumage quickly earned him a keen following on social media, judging by the amount of Facebook posts that were shared shortly after his arrival.
His head looks like a punk rocker’s multicolored mohawk. Beneath his beady black eyes, fringed orange feathers splay across his dark purple chest. His bill is colored a striking hot pink and sits under an emerald green forehead.
The Mandarin duck, native to East Asia, should not be in the middle of a park in suburban Saint Louis. And yet, against all odds, he is here. And he is dazzling in all of his avian glory.
Many have speculated it has escaped from a “private owner” or a zoo. To date we do not know, he has no visible banding.
Despite the closeness of the relationship with the wood duck, no hybrids have ever been recorded. This is because the mandarin has a chromosome aberrance that makes it impossible for it to produce hybrids with other ducks.
Until the next adventure.
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