Description 17-20" A beautiful, crested,
multicolored duck. Male patterned in
iridescent greens, purples, and blues with
distinctive white chin patch and face stripes;
bill mainly red; tail long. Female grayish with
broad white eye ring.
Habitat Wooded rivers and ponds; wooded
swamps. Visits freshwater marshes in late
summer and fall.
Nesting The Wood Duck's habit of nesting
in cavities enables it to breed in areas lacking
suitable ground cover.
9-12 whitish or tan eggs in a nest made of
down in a natural tree cavity or a man-made
nest box, sometimes up to 50' off the ground.
The young leave the nest soon after hatching,
jumping from the nesting cavity to the ground
or water. Once out of the nest, they travel
through wooded ponds with their mother.
Snapping turtles take a heavy toll of the young.
Range Breeds from British Columbia south
to California, and from Montana east to Nova
Scotia and south to Texas and Florida; absent
from Rocky Mountains and Great Plains.
Winters near Pacific Coast north to
Washington, and to New Jersey in East, rarely
Voice Female, loud wooo-eeek!; male,
softer jeee? or ter-weeeee?
Discussion One of the most beautiful of
American waterfowl, the Wood Duck was
hunted nearly to extinction during the late 19th
and early 20th centuries.
In 1918 the hunting season was closed, and
for the next two decades numbers rose
steadily. There are now well over a million
Wood Ducks in North America.