Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Birdtober Day Twenty-Five: Mandarin Duck

Source: eBird.com


Many bird species show sexual dimorphism, meaning that males and females look different. But the Mandarin Duck has an extreme case of dimorphism. The female is a sensible, unobtrusive little brown bird, and the male looks like a circus performer. I love bird descriptions (they are their own kind of poetry), and here's the description from eBird.com: "Male very ornate with big orangey "sail fins" on the back, streaked orangey cheeks, and a small red bill with a whitish tip. Female has narrow white spectacles on shaggy gray head, bold pale dappled spots along flanks, and pale bill tip."


Mr. Mandarin's a dandy,

colorful, dramatic.

Mrs. Mandarin's more quiet,

quite anti-climactic.

He leaves before the ducklings hatch,

while she's the perfect mother;

just what made these lovely birds

so different from each other?


©Ruth Bowen Hersey


No comments: