Many Asian traditions use mandarin duck figurines as a part of the home’s Feng Shui. They are believed to mate for life. In native folklore, a pair of separated ducks can find each other again by transforming into human form. A pair of mandarins is a popular gift for the bride-to-be and promises wedded bliss and fertility. According to Feng Shui, if one figurine breaks, the entire pair must be replaced to protect the married couple from discord.
The truth of the matter is, these water birds mate only for one season. After mating season, the male exchanges its colorful feathers to look just like the female except for his bright red bill.
History of the Mandarin
The mandarin duck has been around for a long time, being first mentioned by Aristotle. He found the purple crest on the duck’s head looked like a cap or a bonnet and referred to it as a wigged diving bird. Mandarins can adapt to new areas fairly well. Originally from Asia, escaped birds in other countries have formed wild populations. Large communities now exist in Great Britain, California, and Florida (to name a few).
Once poached for their brilliant plumage and exported by the thousands, many mandarin populations are now stable. Though the mandarin’s natural habitat is severely threatened, communities thrive in many other parts of the world. This fairly shy waterfowl can be found in wooded ponds and forested lakes, but definitely not on your dinner plate. For all their brilliant beauty, mandarin ducks do not taste very good.
Wherever you find these beautiful water birds, they definitely deserve their place in the sun.
See below for a few of our picks.