The Internet Is Completely In Love With The Gorgeous Mandarin Duck In Central Park

Bird-lovers were given the ultimate treat when a Mandarin Duck graced them with its presence in Central Park. While most ducks have a simple brown or sometimes green plumage, the Mandarin Duck’s feathers come in practically every color under the sun to produce a show-stopping effect.

The bird’s exceptional appearance has earned it all kinds of praise. Some have given the bird the moniker “glamour duck” while writer Shelby Lin Erdman referred to it in an article for AJC as “a punk rock version of most ducks.”

The bird’s discovery in Central Park has been baffling on many levels. The bird was first spotted in New York on Oct. 10 but disappeared shortly thereafter for two weeks. Just as people were beginning to assume the worst, the duck mysteriously reappeared.  

As the name Mandarin Ducks are native to Asia—Japan and China specifically—which begs the question: WTF is it doing halfway across the world? Local zoos have confirmed that all their Mandarin Ducks are accounted for, leading people to suspect that the bird either escaped from someone or was purposefully let loose. If the bird’s original owner is ever discovered it could mean big trouble for him or her since owning a Mandarin Duck as a pet is illegal.

Thankfully being so far away from its homeland hasn’t hurt New York's fine feathered transplant at all. Not only is the duck healthy, but it’s actually just as popular among ducks as it is among humans and has been getting along well with the pond’s native mallards.

David Barrett, creator of the Twitter account Manhattan Bird Alert explained, to The New York Times that part of the Duck’s ability to survive is due to the fact that it is a “dabbler,”  meaning it moves its bill across water to capture its food. This feeding practice, Barrett says, is perfectly sustainable within Central Park.   

In an article for WIRED, Emily Dreyfuss pondered whether the internet's collective obsession with the Mandarin Duck, or “duckboi” as she calls it, is destined to be short-lived despite how captivating he might seem initially. 

“While duckboi captures our heart today, every few months, social media finds a different animal to lionize, so to speak,” she wrote.

Though Dreyfuss may have a point, let’s hope that one day Central Park will be blessed with some adorable Mardin ducklings that will break the internet all over again.