Characteristics and Behavior:
The Wood duck is one of the most colorful North American ducks, with a distinctive green and purple head and neck, white stripes on the face, a chestnut breast, and a metallic blue back. Male Wood ducks have a bold, iridescent plumage that makes them stand out, while females are more subdued with a grayish-brown head and white eye-ring. Wood ducks are known for their perching abilities, often perching on tree branches and nest boxes, rather than just swimming and wading like most other ducks. The species has a distinctive whistle-like call that sounds like "jeeee", which is often heard before the bird is seen.
- Wood ducks can be found throughout North America, from southern Canada to northern Mexico and Southern Florida.
- Wood ducks are partial to wooded areas near water, where they can find cover and nest in natural tree cavities or artificial nest boxes.
- They prefer areas with emergent vegetation, which provides food and cover for ducklings.
- The species is adaptable and can also be found in urban areas with suitable habitat, such as parks and golf courses.
- Wood ducks have an average lifespan of 2-3 years in the wild, but can live up to 15 years in captivity.
- Breeding season typically starts in late winter or early spring, with males performing elaborate courtship displays to attract females.
- Females lay an average of 9-14 eggs per clutch, and incubate them for about a month.
- Ducklings are born precocial, meaning they are able to walk and feed themselves soon after hatching, but still rely on their mother for warmth and protection.
- Wood ducks are migratory, with northern populations flying south for the winter.
- Wood ducks are also known as "Carolina ducks" because of their association with the Carolina region of North America.
- The Wood duck is the only North American duck to have sharp claws that allow it to grip branches and perch on trees.
- Wood ducks are sometimes called the "Acorn duck" because acorns are a favorite food source in their diet during the fall.