What Are Some Wood Duck Facts?

wood-duck Credit: Rodney Campbell/CC-BY 2.0

Wood ducks, which are also known as Carolina ducks, are a highly colorful and ornate species of duck that live in wooded swamps, where they can nest in tree holes. These are one of the few duck species that have claws on their webbed feet, which helps them grip and perch on tree branches.

Wood ducks are most known for their feathers' stunning array of colors. The male wood duck has distinctive red eyes, a green iridescent head and brown speckled breast. As in other duck species, the female is less magnificent. Female wood ducks are gray-brown in color. They have chests that are dotted with white, and they have white around their eyes.

Wood ducks are not only recognizable for their beautiful palette of colors but also for their unusual silhouettes. They are boxier in shape than most species of ducks, and they possesss shorter wings. They also tend to fly with their head up high. Because wood ducks nest in trees, unlike other ducks, they are comfortable flying through the woods. Their unusual frame makes them more maneuverable than other species.

In the late 19th century, the wood duck species was declining because of loss of habitat as well as being hunted for both their meat and colorful feathers. Unregulated hunting was restricted in 1918 with the Federal Bird Migratory Bird Treaty act, and this, along with the introduction of nesting boxes, helped the wood duck population recover.