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Wood Duck Photos

Photography by Terry Sohl

My Favorite: A gorgeous, other-worldly looking species, and fortunately one that you see quite a bit in eastern South Dakota. However, I find them to often be very shy and difficult to photograph under most circumstances. However, like many waterfowl species, those that get accustomed to living in urban parks and ponds are often less shy than those found in more wild environments.

My favorite photo of the species is a most unusual one for South Dakota! In the late fall of 2020, a Mandarin Duck male was found inhabiting a small urban pond in Yankton, South Dakota. He also made a friend...a male Wood Duck! The two were inseparable, following each other everywhere on the small pond, and even defending a territory from any other waterfowl that came close. The photo below is of the pair on November 15th, 2020. Sadly, about a week after this was taken, the Mandarin drake was evidently caught by a predator.

Mandarin Ducks are generally considered escapees when seen in the US, although there are now multiple wild breeding populations. However, despite the "escapee" status of this gorgeous Mandarin, I'm so glad I made the 1 1/2 hour drive to photograph him, as this photo is an instant favorite of mine. Several other photos of the pair can be seen down below (click on the small image chips for a larger view).

Mandarin and Wood Duck - Aix sponsa and Aix galericulata 

Wood Duck 1 - Aix sponsa Wood Duck 2 - Aix sponsa Wood Duck 3 - Aix sponsa Wood Duck 4 - Aix sponsa 

Wood Duck 1

October 11th, 2004

Outdoor Campus, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Wood Duck 2

November 15th, 2020

Yankton, South Dakota

Wood Duck 3

October 11th, 2004

Outdoor Campus, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Wood Duck 4

October 11th, 2004

Outdoor Campus, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Wood Duck 5 - Aix sponsa 

Wood Duck 6 - Aix sponsa (female) 

Wood Duck 7 - Aix sponsa 

Wood Duck 8 - Aix sponsa 

Wood Duck 5

November 15th, 2020

Yankton, South Dakota

Wood Duck 6

April 12th, 2005
Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Wood Duck 7

May 2nd, 2010
Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Wood Duck 8

May 17th, 2013
Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Wood Duck 9 - Aix sponsa 

Wood Duck 10 - Aix sponsa

Wood Duck 11 - Aix sponsa

Mandarin and Wood Duck 1 - Aix sponsa and Aix galericulata

Wood Duck 9

October 2nd, 2016
Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Wood Duck 10

November 15th, 2020

Yankton, South Dakota

Wood Duck 11

November 15th, 2020

Yankton, South Dakota

Wood and Mandarin Duck 1

November 15th, 2020

Yankton, South Dakota

Mandarin and Wood Duck 2 - Aix sponsa and Aix galericulata 

Mandarin and Wood Duck 3 - Aix sponsa and Aix galericulata 

Mandarin and Wood Duck 4 - Aix sponsa and Aix galericulata 

Mandarin and Wood Duck 5 - Aix sponsa and Aix galericulata 

Wood and Mandarin Duck 2

November 15th, 2020

Yankton, South Dakota

Wood and Mandarin Duck 3

November 15th, 2020

Yankton, South Dakota

Wood and Mandarin Duck 4

November 15th, 2020

Yankton, South Dakota

Wood and Mandarin Duck 5

November 15th, 2020

Yankton, South Dakota

Mandarin and Wood Duck 6 - Aix sponsa and Aix galericulata  Mandarin and Wood Duck 7 - Aix sponsa and Aix galericulata  Mandarin and Wood Duck 8 - Aix sponsa and Aix galericulata  Wood Duck 12 - Aix sponsa 

Wood and Mandarin Duck 6

November 15th, 2020

Yankton, South Dakota

Wood and Mandarin Duck 7

November 15th, 2020

Yankton, South Dakota

Wood and Mandarin Duck 8

November 15th, 2020

Yankton, South Dakota

Wood Duck 12

October 7th, 2017

Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Wood Duck 13 - Aix sponsa Wood Duck 14 - Aix sponsa Wood Duck 15 - Aix sponsa Wood Duck 16 - Aix sponsa 

Wood Duck 13

April 21st, 2017

Ditch Road, Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Wood Duck 14

April 21st, 2017

Ditch Road, Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Wood Duck 15

April 21st, 2017

Ditch Road, Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Wood Duck 16

July 3rd, 2017

Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Click here for the species description page for the Wood Duck.


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