What an incredibly beautiful bird is the Wood Duck. Many people actually consider the wood duck as being the most beautiful of all water fowl. They are about 19 – 21 inches long with an average wingspan of 29 inches. As you can see from this great photo by Steve Berliner, the adult male or drake has distinctive multi-colored iridescent plumage and red eyes.
The female, as you will see in another photo, is less colorful. She is mostly brown and has a white eye ring and a white throat. Both the male and female have crested heads.
The wood duck is one of the only ducks that nests in trees. There breeding habitat is near wooded swamps, marshes, shallow lakes and ponds in eastern North America and the west coast of the U.S. and Mexico. When they are swimming wood ducks bob their heads back and forth in a jerking motion making them pretty easy to spot.
The wood duck nests in trees near water, sometimes directly over water but other times up to a mile away. After hatching, the ducklings jump down from the nest tree and make their way to the water.
The wood duck population was in serious decline at the beginning of the 20th century because of over hunting and loss of suitable nesting sites. Some changes in hunting laws and a program of nestbox construction in suitable habitat has returned the wood duck to sustainable numbers.
1. Anguilla 2. Austria 3. Bahamas 4. Bermuda
5. Canada 6. Cayman Islands 7. Croatia 8. Cuba
9. Denmark 10. Dominican Republic 11. Guadeloupe 12. Haiti
13. Iceland 14. Italy 15. Jamaica 16. Mexico
17. Netherlands Antilles 18. Puerto Rico 19. Slovenia 20. Spain
21. St. Pierre and Miquelon 22. United States Of America