Wood Duck

photo by Paul H. Franklin

In Alabama during: Fall | Spring | Summer | Winter

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Aix sponsa

OTHER NAMES: Woodie, summer duck, acorn duck, swamp duck, squealer.

STATUS: Breeder. Common in all seasons and regions. Low Conservation Concern.

DESCRIPTION: The wood duck (Aix sponsa) is a small, multicolored duck from 15 inches to 18 inches in length that inhabits creeks, rivers, floodplains, lakes, swamps, and beaver ponds. Their crested heads, broad wings, and large rectangular tails create J11an appearance unlike any other duck. Although their flight is only moderately swift compared to other ducks, their somewhat broader wings enable them to thread their way through tree branches fairly easily. The male wood duck is brightly colored and patterned in iridescent greens, purples, and blues with a distinctive white chin patch and a long, red bill. In flight, the white belly contrasts neatly with the dark breast and wing feathers. Females are a mottled brown color with a white, eye patch. Wood ducks make a loud wooo-eek during flight and when under distress. During feeding and resting they make softer peet and cheep notes. On the water, wood ducks sit higher and are more buoyant than other ducks. Due to their buoyancy, their tails are usually visible an inch or more above the water.


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