The Wood Duck or Carolina Duck is a species of duck found in North America. It is one of the most colorful North American waterfowl. Males are iridescent chestnut and green, with ornate patterns on nearly every feather; the elegant females have a distinctive profile and delicate white pattern around the eye. These birds live in wooded swamps, where they nest in holes in trees or in nest boxes put up around lake margins. They are one of the few duck species equipped with strong claws that can grip bark and perch on branches.
In good light, males have a glossy green head cut with white stripes, a chestnut breast, and buffy sides. In the low or harsh light, they'll look dark overall with paler sides. Females are gray-brown with white-speckled breasts. In eclipse plumage (late summer), males lose their pale sides and bold stripes but retain their bright eyes and bill.
Wood ducks breed across most of the central and eastern United States, southeastern Canada, and along the Pacific coast from California to British Columbia. The highest breeding densities occur in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. In recent decades, the breeding range has expanded westward into the Great Plains region following the development of wooded riparian corridors. Wood ducks prefer riparian habitats, wooded swamps, and freshwater marshes.
January 21st, 2013
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