Wood Duck

photo by Andrew McKinlay CC BY-NC
male, breeding

Wood Duck (18-21 in) have a boxy, crested head, a thin neck, short wings, and a long broad tail. Male Wood Duck have a glossy green head with white stripes on the head and chin in summer. Females and juveniles are brownish-gray with a white patch around the eye.

Wood Duck prefer areas with a mix of water and forest, such as woodland ponds or river swamps. They perch and nest in trees and are comfortable flying through woods. They spend their summers in southern Canada and the northern USA. They can be found year-round along the west coast and in the southern USA.

The birds pair up in late winter and begin breeding in early spring. They eat mostly plant materials.

Could it be? Green-winged Teal don't have bold white stripes. Mallard have much paler sides and don't have the crest and white stripes.

Did you know? Wood Duck have strong claws that they use to grip bark and perch on branches. Very young ducklings must jump from high tree cavities to make their way to water.

See Also: Common Merganser, Goldeneye, Loon, Mallard, Western Grebe