Wood Duck

Gorgeous duck with intricate plumage: green, crested head, chestnut breast and other bold markings.

Warm brown plumage with grayer, slightly crested head. White teardrop around the eye; white also along the edge of dark blue speculum patch in the wings.

Found on shallow lakes and ponds, often swimming near the edges among emergent or overhanging vegetation.

Grayish brown plumage with whiter throat, bright red eye, and red and white bill.

In flight the blue secondaries with a bold white stripe on the trailing edge are obvious.

Female lacks bright patterns of male, but has unique crested head shape and large white teardrop patch around eye.

Gray underwings of breeding males contrast with the rest of the plumage.

Often perches on tree limbs. Note white line at edge of blue speculum patch in the wing

Glossy green head with prominent crest at the rear, white throat, bright red eye, and red-and-white bill.

Fluffy young are dark above with pale yellowish underparts and face.

In flight, look for dark chest contrasting with neat white belly patch.

Nests in cavities, including artificial nest boxes.

Often perches on branches, sometimes far from water.

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Wood Ducks have a unique shape among ducksa boxy, crested head, a thin neck, and a long, broad tail. In flight, they hold their head up high, sometimes bobbing it. Overall, their silhouette shows a skinny neck, long body, thick tail, and short wings.

In good light, males have a glossy green head cut with white stripes, a chestnut breast and buffy sides. In low or harsh light, theyll look dark overall with paler sides. Females are gray-brown with white-speckled breast. In eclipse plumage (late summer), males lose their pale sides and bold stripes, but retain their bright eye and bill. Juveniles are very similar to females.

Unlike most waterfowl, Wood Ducks perch and nest in trees and are comfortable flying through woods. Their broad tail and short, broad wings help make them maneuverable. When swimming, the head jerks back and forth much as a walking pigeons does. You often see Wood Ducks in small groups (fewer than 20), keeping apart from other waterfowl. Listen for the females call when these wary birds flush.

Look for Wood Ducks in wooded swamps, marshes, streams, beaver ponds, and small lakes. They stick to wet areas with trees or extensive cattails. As a cavity nester, Wood Ducks take readily to nest boxes.

Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl(Order: Anseriformes, Family:Anatidae)

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