Central Park’s gorgeous rare duck gave everyone a heart attack today


The Big Apple’s favorite — and fanciest– bird is back in Central Park after ducking its fans for a couple of days.

The rare Mandarin duck — that captured the hearts of bird lovers with its vibrant colors and majestic presence ever since it first mysteriously appeared last month — returned safely to the park Thursday shortly before 7 a.m., after a brief, and troubling disappearance.

The regal-looking duck, native to East Asia, was last spotted Sunday at Central Park’s Pond near 5th Avenue and 59th Street, but caused a bit of scare when it suddenly flew the coop.

David Barrett, the creator and manager of the Twitter account Manhattan Bird Alert, sounded the alarm early Wednesday tweeting: “Where is our MANDARIN DUCK? He was not reported yesterday, and we checked the likely spots late day. If you see him, let us know!”

“People tried seeing it during the New York City Marathon,” which finishes in Central Park, Barrett, 54, told The Post Thursday.

On Saturday, massive throngs of spectators lined up, their cameras and cell phones in hand, to get a glimpse of the red-billed, purple, orange, blue, green, white and black-colored duck that quickly became a New York sensation.

“We had standing-room-only crowds around the Central Park Pond on Saturday,” Barrett said.

But just as mysteriously as the Mandarin duck arrived, it mysteriously disappeared – and then returned again.

The duck suddenly re-appeared out of the reeds at the Pond Thursday morning, according to an avid bird-watcher who had been waiting for the duck to come back.

It’s not the first time the duck vanished since it first descended on Central Park on Oct. 10.

The animal was gone for roughly two weeks before it was spotted at the 79th Street Boat Basin on the Hudson River on Oct. 25, according to Barrett who later learned that the duck was also spotted off the shores in Edgewater, New Jersey two days earlier.

“It can fly,” Barrett said of the special duck. “We’ve seen it fly short distances at the Pond…it has flown slightly longer distances at least a few times.”

Barrett added: “It has shown that it likes to wander and try out new habitats.”

Nonetheless, Barrett said he’s thrilled to have the rare bird back in Central Park.

“I am delighted to learn that our Mandarin duck has returned,” he said. “He has brought a lot of joy to New Yorkers in his brief time here, and it’s great to have him back!”