Wood Duck

Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Aix
Species: sponsa

La. anser  goose
La. forma  form, shape, kind
Gr. anous   foolish
La. anas  duck
Gr. aix  water bird
La. sponsa  bride


Wood Duck, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, The Book of Birds, Henry W. Henshaw, 1921

 Louis Agassiz Fuertes

A beautiful, elegant bird. Iridescent green and purple head and crest. Two white lines, one supercilium (a strip above the eye like a long narrow eyebrow), and one just below extending back from the eye (post-ocular).

Dark brown upperparts. Purple and green wings with a white band in the front. White throat. Chestnut breast with white spots. White underside. Red iris and eyelids. About 18 inches long.


         USGS Wood Duck Map

Abundant especially in woodlands near water throughout most of North America from the Hudson Bay region to Mexico and the Caribbean. Some migrate as far as Mexico and some winter as far north as Virginia

Makes its nests in deep cavities of decaying trees from within reach to over sixty feet high within short distances from or even over water. Sometimes a pair occupies the same nest for several breeding seasons.

Lays around eight to twelve ivory colored eggs which hatch after about four to five weeks incubation.

biwoodduckfchbwc.jpg (12691 bytes)

F.C. Hennessey

The parents coax the young ducklings to jump from the nest and while the male parent stands guard, the female parent leads the ducklings to water where they learn to forage. 

Young learn to fly at about two months of age. Forages for acorns and aquatic plant seeds (wild oats and rice) and roots and insects.

Calls out a high pitched note somewhat like zipping a long plastic zipper with increasing speed. Also has a shorter squeak.

The Wood Duck Box (same as for Hooded Merganser, and Kestrel) has a 10" by 10" floor, 24" inside ceiling, 4" wide by 3" high entrance hole located 21" above the floor and ventilation openings.

Assembled with corrosion resistant screws fit to pre-drilled countersunk pilot holes.  Hinged roof is secured with shutter hooks for easy access.

Eastern Screech Owls and Western Screech Owls may also use this nestbox.

Free Printable Nestbox Plans and Dimensions for Wood Duck, Hooded Merganser, Kestrel and Screech Owl
Wood Duck House Plans

Wood Duck houses should be mounted 10 feet or higher on a tree trunk, (6 to 8 feet if on a post in water), in forest bottomlands within 100 feet of a river or a pond, further if there are no obstacles for the ducklings trek to water. Place some wood chips on the floor. Squirrels may use this box.

Wood Duck, Allan Brooks, Educational Bird Leaflets, National Association of Audubon Societies, 1913

  Allan Brooks



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