Photos and text by Caroline Penn
This beautiful duck was first spotted at Burnaby Lake in 2018 and has been sighted in several other Vancouver parks off and on. An evening walk at Piper’s Spit two weeks ago brought us some views of Trevor, who was in full mating plumage and dutifully following a female around the dock area. The female Mandarin is very similar to the female Wood duck to whom the Mandarins are closely related. However it seems that he is likely following a female Wood duck as the chances of a pair of Mandarins being in the area is rather remote.
The Mandarin duck, Aix galericulata, is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful birds. It is native to East Asia where it is typically migratory, but threatened by loss of forest habitat. The ducks prefer a habitat of dense shrubs and trees beside rivers and lakes. They perch in tree cavities and in April and May they lay up to a dozen eggs. After hatching, the ducklings have to leap from their nest.
It is not clear where Trevor came from but someone may have released him into his current habitat in Vancouver. There are small feral populations in Europe and the USA.