31 Cool Bird Facts #20 – Wood Duck

Wood Ducks [Aix sponsa] are colorful ducks of the woods (no kidding!). They easily can be considered the most beautiful of all the waterfowl but it is what their nestlings do that is most attention-grabbing.

Wood Duck

The Wood Duck nests in trees near water, sometimes directly over water, but other times up to 2 km (1.2 mi) away. After hatching, the ducklings jump down from the nest tree and make their way to water. The mother calls them to her, but does not help them in any way. The ducklings may jump from heights of up to 89 m (290 ft) without injury. – Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds

6 thoughts on “31 Cool Bird Facts #20 – Wood Duck

  1. We had one wood duck brood this summer on the pond. One evening after taking her recess, the hen came in and landed in our neighbor’s maple tree. And me without my camera. The woodies are my favorite ducks…

  2. Dec. 29, 2008

    My son and I saw a wood duck swimming with other small brown ducks about it’s size in the most northern pond in Central Park in NYC–the beautiful Harlem mere. We’ve looked it up. What a suprise. Anyone ever heard of them in the winter in central park?

  3. While not as common as in other seasons, Wood Ducks can often be found in and around NYC; not so likely in the rest of New York.

  4. I live in eastern SD and have a bird that spends hours flying round and round over my farm (singly), rising and dropping, rising and dropping. As it descends you can hear a whistling wingbeat. It flies too high for good identification. I think it might be a wood duck, but I’ve researched and can find nowhere that says they do this. Can anyone help me?

  5. Mike – is there a pond or other water nearby? Wood Ducks are usually close to water (although I’ve had one in my city backyard rather far from it). I am guessing a raptor (hawk, falcon) since it is flying for a long time and by itself. What is the size, shape, and any other details?

  6. Referring to my previous inquiry, I know that I do have a pair of wood ducks in the trees behind my house, and there is water nearby. I just have never been able to find anywhere that ducks have this characteristic flight. It’s definitely not a raptor, it never glides or soars – always a rapid wingbeat. Kind of hard to judge since it is so high, but it appears to be about the size and shape of a duck.

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