Meet the Mandarin duck, regularly dubbed the most beautiful bird in the world, and it’s easy to see why.
With its strikingly colorful feathers and unique shape, it really is like no other animal we have ever seen before.
They can still be found in abundance in their native East Asia but can also found in the numbers in the UK.
They were brought over from China in the 20th century by the Mandarins but some of them escaped and created their own feral colony, and this is how their population was cultivated in Britain and other places around the world.
As you may see from the photos, they are multi-colored. With a red bill, white crescent over its eyes, orange face and ‘whiskers’.
The breast is purple with bronze-colored sides. The top of the back is blue with two orange ‘sails’ just below it that stick up, just like a boat sail.
Only the male of the species is this unique coloring. The female is a much duller grey color with a white striped running from her eyes and white spotted breast.
Spotting one of these guys in North America is possible, but extremely rare. You may remember the ‘famous’ Mandarin duck called Trevor from Vancouver who went viral.
These stunning ducks don’t have any natural predators in the west, so when they were first accidentally introduced to the west, there were worries that they may become invasive.
Mandarin ducks live and breed in dense and shrubby areas such as the edge of rivers.
Although they may breed in valleys and high altitudes, they prefer to be lower down, as long as there is fresh water around.
They usually eat plants and seeds but are known to enjoy the odd snail, insect or small fish to their diet, depending on the season.
The Mandarins biggest threat is due to habitat loss from logging. They are not listed as endangered.
We’ve said before that hummingbirds possess a unique type of delicate beauty that is like no other.
They are some of natures smallest birds and are true evolutionary marvels.
The bee hummingbird is like no other, even compared to the tiny hummingbird, it’s tiny. In fact, it is the world’s smallest.
Measuring only around 5-6 centimetres long, these tiny birds also weigh less than 2g, that’s half a teaspoon of sugar.
Their name comes from the fact that they are so small, that they often get mistaken for bees. Especially since hummingbirds also make a humming noise when flying, resembling the bees buzz.
They are native to Cuba where you can find them fluttering on flowers all over, kind of like a bee too!
Unlike most other hummingbirds, bee hummingbirds don’t migrate from their hometown of Cuba and instead are content with their home subtropical climate.
Just like all other hummingbirds, their most aesthetically pleasing aspect is their stunning iridescent plumage. Now when you add this to a bird so tiny like the bee hummingbird, it really looks like a flying jewel.
The males sport a green body with a bright red throat. They really are a sight to behold and if you ever get the chance to see them, make sure you take it.
The females wear a bluey-green plumage, pale underside and a black throat.
Hummingbirds flap their wings on average between 50-80 beats per second, making them a literal blur to the human eye.
If you ever had the chance to see a hummingbird’s wings flapping, its usually because the video has been slowed down or the hummingbird is landing.
When they dive, they can flap their wings up to 200 times per second!
The bee hummingbird feeds mainly on nectar, just like other hummingbirds, and occasionally will feed on insects and spiders too.
It is believed the bee hummingbird can visit around 1,500 flowers a day, meaning it helps the ecosystem by aiding in plant reproduction.
The bee hummingbird lays eggs the size of a coffee bean, just under an inch in diameter!
It’s breeding season begins in March, and when this happens, the male shines in a fiery pink/red from head to throat.
This bright color is of course to attract its female counterpart. The male also performs displays in the air and sings its heart out.
The male can get so bright, that the mother doesn’t let the father get close to any eggs it may have laid in a nest since it may be easily visible to predators.
The bee hummingbird is listen as ‘near threatened’ meaning it’s numbers are declining.
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