Wood Duck – Profile | Traits | Habitat | Facts | Diet | Breeding

Wood Duck

Male Wood Duck is a flamboyant in breeding plumage, virtually unmistakable with their brightly colored chestnut and yellow our bodies, green droop-crested heads, brilliant red bills, and daring white barring on their faces and our bodies.

Females are drabber, with a refined iridescence on total grayish-brown our bodies, spotted flanks, and a white teardrop surrounding every eye. Juveniles seem much like females, as do non-breeding males in eclipse plumage (from June to September), though they have the red bill and white facial markings.

Wood Duck Distribution

The birds are year-round residents in elements of its southern range, however, the northern populations migrate south for the winter. They overwinter within the southern United States close to the Atlantic Coast.

75% of the wooden geese within the Pacific Flyway are non-migratory. They are additionally popular, attributable to their enticing plumage, in waterfowl collections and as such are regularly recorded in Great Britain as escapees—populations have grown to be briefly established in Surrey within the past, however, aren’t thought-about to be self-sustaining within the trend of the carefully associated mandarin duck.

Given its native distribution, the species can be a possible natural vagrant to Western Europe and there have been records in areas similar to Cornwall, Scotland, and the Isles of Scilly, which some observers think about could relate to wild birds; nevertheless, given the wooden duck’s reputation in captivity, it might be extraordinarily troublesome to show their provenance. There is a small feral population in Dublin.

Wood Duck Description

The wooden duck is a medium-sized perching duck. A typical adult is from 47 to 54 cm (19 to 21 in) ( or 1.5 feet max.) In size with a wingspan of between 66 to 73 cm (26 to 29 in).

The wooden duck’s weight ranges from 454-862 g (16.0-30.4 oz). This is about three-quarters of the size of an adult mallard. It shares its genus with the Asian Mandarin duck (Aix galericulata).

The adult male has distinctive multicolored iridescent plumage and red eyes, with a particular white flare down the neck. The feminine, much less colorful, has a white eye-ring and a whitish throat. Both adults have crested heads.

The male’s call is a rising whistle, jeeeeee; the females utter a drawn-out, rising squeal, do weep do weep, when flushed, and a pointy cr-r-ek, cr-e-ek for an alarm call.

Wood Duck


Rarely seen on marine waters, the Wood Duck is a bird of wooded wetlands and slow-moving, tree-lined rivers, with a choice for deciduous-tree habitats. This cavity-nester requires both a natural cavity or nest field to lift its younger.

Wood Duck Behavior

Wood Ducks forage within the water by taking meals from the floor and up-ending to achieve meals beneath. They additionally graze on the land. Pairs kind on the wintering grounds, and males entice females by displaying off their brightly colored plumage.

Females display robust constancy to the sites the place they hatched (philopatry), they usually lead their mates back to these sites within the spring.

Their breeding habitat is wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes or ponds, and creeks in eastern North America, the west coast of the United States, and western Mexico.

They normally nest in cavities in bushes near water, though they are going to reap the benefits of nesting packing containers in wetland areas. Females line their nests with feathers and different soft supplies, and the elevation gives some safety from predators.

Unlike most different geese, the wooden duck has sharp claws for perching in bushes and might, in southern areas, produce two broods in a single season—the one North American duck that may achieve this.
Wood Duck
Females sometimes lay between 7 and 15 white-tan eggs that incubate for an average of 30 days. However, if nesting packing containers are positioned too close collectively, females could lay eggs within the nests of their neighbors, which can result in nests that will include as many as 30 eggs and unsuccessful incubation, a behavior often called “nest dumping”.

After hatching, the ducklings climb to the opening of the nest cavity, bounce down from the nest tree and make their method to the water. The mom calls them to her however doesn’t assist them in any means.

They want nesting over water so the younger have a soft landing, however will nest as much as 140 m (460 ft) away from the shoreline. The day after they hatch, the younger climb to the nest entrance and bounce to the ground. The ducklings can swim and discover their very own meals by this time.”

These birds feed by dabbling or strolling on land. Dabbling means to seek meals from the floor of the water, versus diving beneath the floor to scavenge for meals. They primarily eat berries, acorns, and seeds, but additionally bugs, making them omnivores.

Wood Duck


Aquatic plant seeds make up nearly all of the diet. Insects and different aquatic invertebrates are additionally eaten, particularly by younger birds. In areas with oak bushes, acorns are a major source of meals.

Wood Duck Nesting

Wood Ducks nest in cavities close to or above water, as much as 65 feet high. The commonest natural cavities are Pileated Woodpecker holes, however, artificial nest packing containers are used as properly.

The cavity is lined with down. The feminine lays 9 to 14 eggs and incubates them for 25 to 35 days. After the feminine begins incubation, the pair breaks up. After at some point within the nest, the younger leap to the ground or water, typically fairly a long bounce.

The younger can swim and feed themselves, however, the feminine continues to have a tendency for five to six weeks. She leaves before they will fly, nevertheless. They fledge when they’re 8 to 9 weeks old.

Wood Duck

Wood Duck Migration

Many Wood Ducks are short-distance migrants, however, nearly 75% of the Wood Ducks within the Pacific Flyway are non-migratory. Those who might be migratory fly from British Columbia via western Washington and winter within the Central Valley of California.

Some western Washington breeders don’t seem migratory, though most are. Those from eastern Washington are additionally migratory. Males collect in a post-breeding flock and molt before the autumn migration.

Wood Duck Conservation

Wood Ducks declined significantly in the course of the late nineteenth Century attributable to over-hunting and habitat loss and have been threatened with extinction early within the twentieth century.

Legal safety, starting in 1918 with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and main initiatives to offer nest packing containers in applicable habitat have helped the Wood Duck get better to healthy numbers.

Expanding beaver populations all through the Wood Duck’s range has additionally helped the population rebound as beavers create a perfect forested wetland habitat for Wood Ducks.

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