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Dazzling Mandarin duck making splash in New York’s Central Park with eye-popping plumage

No, it is not a duck in a Halloween costume, although it certainly looks like it could be.

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It’s a wayward Mandarin duck that’s been frequenting waterways in New York City and the Central Park Pond, and you’d be hard-pressed to miss it because it looks like a punk rock version of most ducks, with its colorful feathers, eye-popping blue and pink mohawk, various rainbow hues in its plumage and a red beak. 

Of course, coloring varies among Mandarins, too, just like any species of duck, but the Mandarin in Central Park is truly a startling looking bird.

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No one knows where it came from, although, according to The New York Times, officials with the area’s zoos have confirmed they are not missing any Mandarins. That means it may have escaped from someone, even though ducks aren’t allowed to be kept as pets in the city, the newspaper reported. Or maybe the duck’s owner dumped him in the park.

Mandarins are a native of China and Japan and, in China, they have long been regarded as symbols of fidelity. Pairs were given to brides on their wedding day, according to the website Living With Birds.

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Wherever he came from, bird-watchers are smitten. They’re going crazy over the duck, the Times reported, stunned to see the Asian native blending right in and fraternizing with the mallard ducks in the park like it belongs there.

At least one bird expert told the Times the Mandarin can easily survive in Central Park, that “as long as it has open water, it will do just fine.”

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