Duck family (Anatidae)
Small duck, 13 ½” long, 28” wingspan. Crested head, broad wings, square-shaped tail in flight. Male (top in image) – distinctive colorful head, white throat, large green crest, pink bill, red eye. Female (left in image) – brownish gray body, dark crown, white patch around eye.
Cavity nester. Uses natural cavities in large trees or artificial nest boxes. Clutch size – 10 eggs. Eggs are white, creamy white, or dark tan; glossy. Chicks are precocial, downy, fly 8 to 10 weeks after hatching.
“Hauk” or “oo-eek” call given by female in flight. Male call is a drawn-out “ji-ihb” or low squeaky “jeeb”.
Aix, Greek for “waterfowl”; sponsa, Latin for “betrothed”, i.e., dressed for a wedding, from the bird’s attractive appearance.
In the Nature Park:
Year-round resident. Pairs of Wood Ducks are often seen in a flooded area at the southeast end of the Rail Trail during late winter and early spring. There are several artificial nest boxes set up for Wood Ducks in the Nature Park but we don’t know if Wood Ducks have ever used them.
Wood Ducks were hunted to near extinction at the beginning of the 20th century but have recovered, in part due to nest-box programs.