Flamboyant seems too mild a term to describe the richly exotic and elaborate plumage of a male mandarin duck.

He boasts a green and purple crest, orange-chestnut ruff, pale eye stripe, purple breast, orange-brown flanks and dark back with feathers that resemble sails, all of which comprise a striking colour combination and in nature, no colours ever clash.

The female is much duller being basically brownish-grey, but still most attractive. A native of Japan, China and Korea, the bird was first introduced to Britain in the early twentieth century and is now widespread.

It is estimated that there are now more mandarins here than in their former Asian countries.

Like many ducks, mandarins usually nest in a tree hole, preferably an oak but rarely on the ground.

When the young hatch they jump out of the nest hole and parachute to the ground, quickly fending for themselves.

The photo shows a male mandarin in his favoured habitat , namely the woodland gardens in Bushy park where many pairs spend the year among the sheltered tree lined location and certainly brighten up the dull winter months.