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Merlin Bird ID

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    Wood Duck

    ID Info
    Silhouette DucksDucks

    Wood Duck

    Aix sponsa
    • ORDER: Anseriformes
    • FAMILY: Anatidae
    Basic Description

    The Wood Duck is one of the most stunningly pretty of all waterfowl. Males are iridescent chestnut and green, with ornate patterns on nearly every feather; the elegant females have a distinctive profile and delicate white pattern around the eye. These birds live in wooded swamps, where they nest in holes in trees or in nest boxes put up around lake margins. They are one of the few duck species equipped with strong claws that can grip bark and perch on branches.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Wood DuckRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    Look for Wood Ducks around the edges of swamps, sluggish streams, overgrown beaver ponds, and wood-fringed marshes. They're less likely to be out on a large stretch of open water. They pick their way around vegetation growing out of the water or stand on tree branches or logs along the shorelines. Look for their distinctive oblong head shape. In flight they have a distinctive pattern: dark underwings and chest with a contrasting bright belly.

    Other Names
    • Pato Joyuyo (Spanish)
    • Canard branchu (French)

    Backyard Tips

    Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site.

    • Cool Facts