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Wood Duck at Jackson County, US-WV.

Numbers of Wood Duck at Treatment Pond, Whiting Park, Jackson County, US-WV. 

Wood Duck

The Wood Duck or Carolina Duck - Aix sponsa - is a species of duck found in North America and is one of the most colourful of North American waterfowl. Wood Ducks have a unique shape among ducks, a boxy, crested head, a thin neck, and a long, broad tail. Their breeding habitat is wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes or ponds and creeks in eastern North America.


The adult male has distinctive multi-coloured iridescent plumage and red eyes, with a distinctive white flare down the neck. The female, less colourful, has a white eye-ring and a whitish throat. Both adults have crested heads. Unlike most other ducks, the Wood Duck has sharp claws for perching in trees


The male's call is a rising whistle, "jeeeeee"; the females utter a drawn-out, rising squeal, "oo-eek," when flushed, and a sharp "cr-r-ek, cr-e-ek" for an alarm call.


These ducks are omnivores. They feed by dabbling or walking on land and eat seeds, fruits, insects and other arthropods. When aquatic foods are unavailable they may take to dry land to eat acorns and other nuts from forests and grain from fields.


They usually nest in cavities in trees close to water, although they will take advantage of nesting boxes in wetland locations if available. Females line their nests with feathers and other soft materials, with individual females laying between 6 to 16 glossy creamy white to tan eggs per clutch. The incubation period is between 28 to 37 days and the nestling period between 56 to 70 days.

Conservation Status – Least concern

The population of the Wood Duck was in serious decline in the late 19th century as a result of severe habitat loss and market hunting both for meat and plumage for the ladies' hat market in Europe. The population of the Wood Duck has increased a great deal in the last several years. The increase has been due to the work of many people constructing Wood Duck boxes and conserving vital habitat for the Wood Ducks to breed.


Look for Wood Ducks in wooded swamps, marshes, streams, beaver ponds, and small lakes. They stick to wet areas with trees or extensive cattails or ask Aves Birding Tours/Safaris/Adventures to create a tour for you. 


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