Wood duck

Latin Name
Aix sponsa

Class
Birds

Order
Anseriformes

Description

Wood ducks can reach up to 21 ounces in weight and 21 inches in length, with a wingspan of 28 inches. The species is sexually dimorphic, meaning that males and females differ in appearance. Males have brightly colored heads, with iridescent green, blue and purple markings, red eyes and white lines running from the bill to the back of the head. Females have brownish-gray heads with white rings around the eyes.


 

Range

Wood ducks range from southern Canada to northern Mexico, excluding some of the drier regions of the American Southwest.


Status

Wood ducks were nearly hunted to extinction in the early 20th century, but the species has since rebounded thanks to conservation measures. They are regarded as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


Habitat

Wood ducks nest near bodies of water including lakes, rivers, streams and ponds.


Niche

Wood ducks are omnivores, feeding on fruits, seeds, plants and insects. They are a social species, often gathering and migrating in groups.


Life History

Female wood ducks are cavity nesters, meaning they occupy tree holes to incubate their eggs. Females line their nests with feathers and other soft materials, and the elevation provides some protection from predators. After the young hatch, the female wood duck leads them in leaping out of the nest to the ground below; after the fall, she guides her ducklings to the water.




ARKive Media

ARKive video - Wood ducks in artificial breeding home, showing nest boxes for conservationARKive image - Wood duck eggs in nestARKive video - Wood duck - overview

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