Birding in Beijing: Mandarin ducks fight for love
Updated 17:13, 13-Mar-2019
By Xia Jixuan

The story begins with a fight.

Two mandarin ducks play in the water.

Two mandarin ducks play in the water.

Peace is broken by an uninvited guest.

Peace is broken by an uninvited guest.

The male duck gives out a warning.

The male duck gives out a warning.

The intruder doesn't care at all.

The intruder doesn't care at all.

War is declared.

War is declared.

After a few rounds of ferocious battles...

After a few rounds of ferocious battles...

The queen has made her choice.

The queen has made her choice.

The defeated is chased away.

The defeated is chased away.

Peace is restored on the lake.

Peace is restored on the lake.

Mandarin ducks are hailed as the "love bird" in Chinese culture because they are always seen in pairs. Pronounced as "yuanyang" in Chinese, "yuan" refers to the male, and "yang" the female.

It is fairly easy to distinguish a "yuan" from a "yang," as the male duck has brightly colored plumage, while the female looks rather dull. This is a common feature among many birds, such as peacocks.

Love birds.

Love birds.

Mandarin ducks were once believed to form lifelong couples. They are regarded as a token animal of conjugal fidelity, with their name being used as a metaphor of a loving couple.

Bayi Lake in Beijing's Yuyuantan Park has become a popular birding sport over the last few years. Wild birds frequent the lake as a result of the city's improved environment.

Can you figure out males and females now?

Can you figure out males and females now?

(All photos by CGTN's Xia Jixuan)

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at nature@cgtn.com.)