Mandarin ducks are considered by many to be among the worlds most exotic birds. A blaze of different colors marks the drakes plumage with red and orange, blue and green, and more discreet shades of buffs and browns. A crest of orange and cream feathers gives the head a disproportionately large look, this is balanced by a pair of orange "wing sails" that rise from the back. The hen in contrast is rather dull, with an overall grey appearance, and greatly resembles a wood duck hen.
The mandarin duck is a very popular aviary bird, and is commonly seen in many collections. These birds do not require a large aviary, they are hardy, easy to maintain, and will do well in a mixed collection making them an excellent choice for the beginner.
Like the wood duck, mandarin ducks require a raised box for nesting. Mandarins are capable of breeding their first year.
Mandarins have elaborate courtship displays in which the male raises his hood and sail feathers while making a sound much like a burp. Males often act aggressive toward other males during breeding season. It is mostly for show perhaps to impress the hens and I have never had one to be injured in these scuffles.
Breeding season is in spring and in my region begins in March. Clutches consist of 8 to 12 eggs ,they are incubated for about 28 days. If eggs are removed from the hen early in incubation a second clutch is often produced.
Second clutches usually consist of less eggs than the first. The young are easy to raise and are full feathered in about 8 weeks.The Mandarin comes in several color mutations, including the white Mandarin, apricot Mandarin , and black Mandarin. The white Mandarin is the most common and to my knowledge, the only color mutation of this species that is currently bred in the US.
Mandarin Ducks for Sale
Mallard Lane Farms
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What does the term split to white mean?
Split to white is a term commonly used to describe those birds that are regularly colored but have the genetics to produce some color mutated offspring, in this case white. These birds normally acquire these genetics by having one white parent. Listed below are breeding results that I have recorded from my own breeding program, for the four available mandarin pairs listed above. Percentages are approximate and may vary some from your own results.
Regular Mandarin Pair- all normal colored offspring
White Mandarin Pair- all white offspring
Split/White Drake w/white hen- 60-70% white offspring all of the remaining regular colored birds will be split/white.
Split/White Drake w/reg colored hen- 20-25% white offspring about 50% of the regular colored offspring will be split/white while the other half will not carry the white gene. It is noteworthy to mention here, that there will be no way to tell the split/white birds from the regular ones except thru careful breeding.
New information now suggests, that the white and apricot gene in both mandarins and wood ducks is a sex linked recessive gene. This means that regular colored hens will not carry the gene, however they can still produce the color mutated offspring when paired with the proper drake. This new information has not changed the way I breed my birds ,I just now have a better understanding of the genetics at work behind my breeding results.
For more detailed information on Mandarin and Wood Duck genetics please visit
White Throated Mandarins
These Mandarins basically look the same as normal colored mandarins, except for a patch of white on the chest, which both males and females can have.
We have been working with this color since 2010. At the time of this writing it is still have rare color mutation and we are only producing a few of these birds each year.