‘Spectacular' Mandarin Duck, Native to Asia, Waddles Its Way to a Lake in Philly ‘Burbs

The duck has been spotted in Ridley Park Lake in Delaware County.

This duck is super cute. It's chubby, with puffy, orange cheeks and splashes of emerald, violet and royal blue feathers. 

When a similar fowl was spotted in New York's Central Park last fall, the Internet exploded with sightings of the "hot duck" and gave it its own Twitter feed

But quit quacking, NYC hot duck -- Ridley Park, Pennsylvania now has a Delco Duck of its own. 

A similar -- not the same -- duck has been spotted by several wildlife photographers not four miles from the Philadelphia airport. 

It's a mandarin duck, possibly a pet that escaped and took up residence in Ridley Park Lake. 

"The mandarin duck is a spectacular sight! Simply put, a gem among the doldrums of this Delco winter," said Brian Quindlen, who runs a Delaware County birding club and summer nature camp for kids. 

He initially visited the duck on Jan. 12, but when he went two days after that, the lake was completely frozen over and he hasn’t seen the duck since. 

Connor Hinchliffe, a senior biology major at La Salle University, went out to photograph the duck about three weeks ago after seeing on Facebook that it had been spotted at Ridley Park Lake. 

"They’re extremely rare to see in not only Philadelphia but the United States," said Hinchliffe, who picked up wildlife photography as a hobby in August. 

Meet the Mandarin Duck of Ridley Park Lake

The Mandarin duck isn't native to this country; though they are related to the North American Wood duck, they are native to East Asia, said Keith Russell, program manager for urban conservation at Valley Forge Audubon Society of Pennsylvania. 

He said he'd heard the duck had been spotted in Ridley Park Lake. He also believes that the duck probably escaped from captivity. 

(No one is sure where the NYC hot duck came from, either, but that one had a band on its leg, which is used to identify and track birds. Delco Duck doesn't have one.) 

Richard Tutak, the Borough Manager for Ridley Park Borough, said he had contacted the Pennsylvania Game Commission and they confirmed that the Delco Duck was not endangered or threatened and was not seen as a threat. 

But the duck could draw some crowds. Word is already starting to spread. 

Quindlen was alerted of the mandarin duck’s presence through a message on a WhatsApp group chat that some Philly-area birders use to keep in touch about local sightings and rarities. 

The bird-watchers are in for a treat. 

"The mandarin duck is one of the most colorful and most ornate ducks in the world," Russell said.

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