Mandarin duck hen with ducklings in South Korea
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This lesson is going swimmingly. Mandarin duck with ducklings
This mandarin duck is leading by example, safely guiding the next generation on their first forays into the world. After a month of hatching time, the mother urges the chicks to leap from their nests high up in trees (don’t worry, leaves and grass protect them from the fall) and head for the water. This duck is clearly a female, as she lacks the brightly coloured, showy plumage of the male—and she does have a distinctive white circle around her eye. Don’t be surprised if it’s usually a female leading the family swim—the moms are left to raise up to a dozen chicks while the dads go off to molt. While this division of the sexes may sound unfair, it’s important to note that mandarin ducks are monogamous and mate for life. That’s why they are symbols of love and fidelity, and carvings or illustrations of them are often given to newlyweds in China and Japan.