Wood Duck

Wood Ducks are one of the most elaborately colored ducks found in North America. While both sexes have crested heads, males are ornately colored with areas of green, chestnut, and black, with multiple white stripes across their head neck body and wing feathers. Females are mottled gray-brown overall, have a white tear dropped ring around their eye.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Aix sponsa
CLASSIFICATION
Bird
LIFE SPAN
3-5 Years
SIZE
18.5-21.3 ” | 1-2 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • State Protected
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Least Concern
GAME STATUS
Game
GAME TYPE
Waterfowl
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

Wood Ducks are unique among most waterfowl in that they need bodies of water that are near trees. They use lakes, ponds, and streams that are adjacent to wooded areas so they can nest in tree cavities. In Nevada, these ducks are found year-round in the western part and breeding in the northeastern part of the state.

  • Lakes and reservoirs
  • Rivers and streams

Threats

  • Drought
  • Habitat Loss
  • Water Diversion

Natural History

Wood Duck females call to attract males, they pair for one season and may mate with a different duck the next season. Females are responsible for all parental care and nest building. They build their nests in cavities in trees and lay between six and fifteen eggs. However, some female Wood ducks will ‘dump’ their eggs in an already occupied nest for another female Wood duck to raise so some nests can have over twenty eggs in them. After hatching, ducklings leave the nest within 24 hours and drop into water or to the ground. They are dependent on the female for food.
Wood Ducks are omnivores, and they will feed on a wide variety of aquatic plants and aquatic invertebrates. Seeds, grasses, duckweed, berries, and other plants growing in and around the water make up the majority of their diet. They will also eat flies, caterpillars, snails, and beetles. Wood ducks are considered dabbling ducks and dip their heads in the water to forage.

Fun Facts

Wood Ducks are dabbling ducks, but they also fall in the category of perching ducks! Very few species of waterfowl can perch in trees.