Wood Duck

Male wood ducks (Aix sponsa) have some of the most stunning and intricate plumage found among ducks. With their chestnut and green bodies, buffy sides, ornate white patterns, red eyes and red bill base,  male wood ducks are hard to confuse with other ducks. Female wood ducks are grey brown and nowhere near as showy as their male counterparts. A large white eye patch distinguishes female wood ducks from other mono-color female ducks.

This shy species lives in heavily wooded swamps and along rivers, streams or lakes with nearby trees. Wood ducks have claws on their feet enabling them to grip bark and perch. They can also fly among trees and woods. Except for the Southwest, wood ducks can be found throughout most of the continental United States during at least part of the year.

Wood ducks eat seeds, fruits and insects by dabbling or shallow dives. When aquatic food is unavailable, they will move into woods or fields and eat acorns, other nuts, seeds and grains.

Wood ducks nest in tree cavities near water or even directly over the water. Since they do not make their own cavities and suitable nesting holes are often in short supply, wood ducks readily use nest boxes.

Near the turn of the 20th Century wood ducks faced extinction. Populations rebounded after hunting restrictions were enacted and nest box programs were initiated.

This wood duck pair was photographed on a pond at the Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery (Shasta County CA).



Gallery | This entry was posted in Birds and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s