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The Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata), or just Mandarin, is a medium-sized, East Asian perching duck, closely related to the North American Wood Duck. It is 41–49 cm long with a 65–75 cm wingspan. Its most recognizable feature is its brilliant coloring.
The species was once widespread in eastern Asia, but large-scale exports and the destruction of its forest habitat have reduced populations in eastern Russia and in China to below 1,000 pairs in each country; Japan, however, is thought to still hold some 5,000 pairs.
There are now about 7000 in Britain, and other populations on the European continent, the largest in the region of Berlin. In traditional Chinese culture, Mandarin Ducks represent a life-time couple, unlike many other species of ducks. Hence they are frequently featured in Chinese art and are regarded as a symbol of conjugal affection and fidelity.
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