Wood Duck

Aix sponsa

Least Concern

Range & Habitat
Almost totally North America. They inhabit small ponds and rivers in densely wooded country. Often found near shady areas and damp banks. They breed on both sides of Rockies and prairies reaching into Central Canada. They migrate south for the winter, some cross over to winter in Cuba.

General Description
The Wood Duck is usually seen in pairs or small groups, but do gather in roosts at waters in the fall and may then number in the hundreds or thousands. They nest and roost in trees, which they are able to fly through and among with agility. At night they gather on open water where they are safe from predators. The male is attractive and colorful. They have webbed feet and a "filter feeder" bill. Early American settlers exploited the wood duck. At one time they were in imminent danger of extinction but have since come back.

Reproduction & Growth
The Wood Duck breeds well in captivity. In winter, when pairs form, the male's colors are at their best. The male wood duck uses his crest when courting a potential mate. He also shows off with elaborate swimming moves and mock preening. The male will stand guard while his mate lays her eggs. One egg is laid each morning for 9-14 days. The female performs incubation alone, until the eggs hatch together.

In the Wild: Feed on the water for duck weed and pond plants. In the Zoo: Waterfowl diet, kale, apples and sometimes mealworms.

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