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Wood Duck

Aix sponsa

Length: 18 inches Wingspan: 28 to 30 inches Seasonality: Summer
ID Keys: Male unmistakable, female dull with white eyepatch and white chin

Wood Duck - Aix sponsaWood Ducks are probably the most colorful duck found in the state. Unlike most duck species, they nest in trees.  They have been increasing in numbers, probably due to the huge numbers of nest boxes built especially for them.  They are more common in the eastern half of the state. 

Habitat: Shallow lakes, ponds, marshes surrounded by trees.  Requires cavities for nesting

Diet: Mostly vegetable matter such as aquatic plants and seeds, also tadpoles, insects, and snails. 

Behavior: Forages in the water by swimming on the surface, and submerging its head and neck in search of food.  Wood Ducks will also forage on land. 

Nesting: April through June

Song: Wood Duck call

Migration: Winters in the southeastern United States, the Pacific Coast, and Mexico.

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Wood Duck sightings

Similar Species: Female similar to other female ducks

Birdhouses:  Will use nest boxes built for Wood Ducks.

Conservation Status: In decline at the start of the 20th century, they've expanded in numbers and range, in large part due to the numbers of nest boxes created.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Wood Duck

2) Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Wood Duck

3) Wood Duck

4) Wood Duck

Photo Information: April 17th, 2004 -- Madison Waterfowl Production Area -- Terry L. Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Wood Duck photos.


Click on the range map for a higher-resolution view
Wood Duck - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common summer resident in the eastern part of the state, uncommon in the west.  Rare in winter.

Additional Wood Duck Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
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 Wood Duck - Aix sponsa