Mandarin ducks have lived at New York City zoos for years

Mandarin ducks aren’t as unique as you may have believed.

New Yorkers were captivated by the spectacle of the Central Park Mandarin duck, which appeared this fall, but the darling duck isn’t the only one of its kind in the five boroughs.

The “hot duck” that you’ve been stalking on social media is actually one of at least 14 within the city’s limits, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The Mandarin duck (the Aix galericulata) is known for its beautiful colors and pattern. The WCS said that the famed Central Park fowl likely belonged to a bird enthusiast and was released or escaped and made a new home in the park’s waters, WCS said.

The city’s other Mandarins have been around for years, however. The Prospect Park Zoo has had the ducks since 2001 and currently has three males and three females — two of which live on a marsh with other waterfowl like Baer’s pochards, hooded mergansers, Sebastopol geese and trumpeter swans. The Mandarins have even been the zoo’s “ambassador animals” for its education programs. 

Central Park also has its own share of hot ducks. The Central Park Zoo’s Tropic Zone and the Tisch Children’s Zoo are home to six ducks, which are products of a successful breeding program for Mandarin ducks and others.

There’s even a Mandarin duck in the Bronx Zoo’s JungleWorld, which is an indoor rainforest habitat with species from Asia.

So while the famous Central Park duck is getting all the likes and shares, there have been Mandarin ducks here the whole time getting none of the limelight.

Shaye Weaver