Mancunian Mandarins

Photo: Drake Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) in eclipse plumage

With the increase in business links between China and Manchester in the media headlines, I take a look at an ecological link between China and Manchester, the Mandarin, a spectacular looking duck native to Asia and now flourishing in the Manchester area

Mandarin Ducks were imported into the UK because of their stunning looks and were released onto the stately manors of places such as the Home Counties and Cheshire for their ornamental value

This species has gradually adapted to the English environment and has become more widespread, including moving into the Manchester area

Mandarins nest in tree holes often near to water and make great subjects for wildlife film-makers and photographers

The Asian population is declining and therefore the UK, and European, population, although originating from released birds, has greater importance and significance

Good sites to look for Mandarins are Etherow Country Park, Haigh Country Park/River Douglas, Dunham Massey, Bridgewater Canal at Brooklands, the Mersey Valley west of Stockport, Haughton Vale, Reddish Vale Country Park, Worthington Lakes and Bramhall Park

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