Size: 10-21" (43-52 cm). Male is unmistakable, brightly colored with a long, swept-back crest. Neatly striped faced pattern of green, white and dark purple. Throat and breast chestnut. Bold, white, vertical line seperating chestnut breast from buff flanks and bark brown wings and back. Females dark above and lighter brown below. Distinct white eye patch. In flight: stocky build, white belly, dusky wings and long, square tail.
Similar Species- Male distinct. No other freshwater duck has a white eye patch like the female Wood Duck.
Male gives a clear, hissing whistle which rises in pitch. When distressed, male gives a Whoo-eeek! Female a low Creek!
Breeds from southern British Columbia and Alberta, south to central California and northern Idaho, and throughout most of eastern U.S. and adjacent southern Canada. Winters mostly on Pacific Coast and interior California, north to Kansas, southern Iowa, Ohio Valley, and New England.
Found near woodlands on quiet, inland waters such as wooded swamps, flooded forests, ponds, marshes, and along streams. In Idaho, occupies wooded streams, flooded marshes, and lake margins. Winters on both freshwater and brackish marshes, ponds, streams, and estuaries.
Eats seeds and other parts of aquatic plants, nuts (especially acorns), fruits, shrubs, and aquatic and land insects. Young initially eat mainly insects, but may also eath duckweed, and, occasionally, frogs
Builds nest in tree cavity, or may sometimes use cavity left by other species. Forages in shallow water. High annual mortality rate (commonly 50% in adults, higher in young-of-year). In Idaho, species has adapted well to nest boxes (which enhance local populations), is largely absent from southern Idaho (where suitable habitat is lacking), but occurs commonly in northern Idaho during nesting season and migration.
Female incubates 9-15 eggs (usually 10-12) for 27-37 days. Young first fly at about 9 wk, and are abandoned by parent at 1-2 mo. yearlings may breed, but are often unsuccessful. Female often produces 2 broods/yr in southern range, and 1 (occasionally 2), in north.
|Status:||Protected nongame species|
Gadwa, G.U. 1977. Experimental transplanting of wild wood duck hens and broods in northern Idaho. M.S. Thesis, Univ. Idaho, Moscow. 33pp.