A bird in the hand

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A bird in the hand does it on your wrist.

Graffiti at Bury St. Edmunds

Wood Duck or Carolina Duck (Aix sponsa)

The Wood Duck or Carolina Duck (Aix sponsa) is a medium-sized perching duck. It shares its genus with the Asian Mandarin Duck.

Their breeding habitat is wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes or ponds in eastern North America, the west coast of the United States and western Mexico.

Identification Tips:
• Length: 13.5 inches Wingspan: 28 inches
• A medium-sized duck with a long crest on head
• Long-winged and long-tailed
• Blue-green speculum with white rear border

Adult male alternate:
• Alternate plumage worn from Fall-through early summer
• Red bill
• Red eye
• Green head
• Striking white stripes about face and crest with a large white throat patch and “fingerlike” extensions onto cheek and neck
• Chestnut breast and neck with vertical white stripe at lower margin
• Golden flanks bordered above by a white flank stripe
• White belly
• Iridescent dark green-blue back and wings

Adult male basic:
• In basic plumage, the male resembles the female, but often retains the distinctive neck patch and red bill

Wood Duck: Have you seen this duck?

Wood Duck: Have you seen this duck?

Adult female:
• Gray bill
• White teardrop shaped patch around eye
• White throat
• Gray-brown head and neck
• Gray-brown breast stippled with white and fading to a white belly
• Dark brown back

Similar species:

Adult male is unmistakable. Female, immature and eclipse males are nondescript, but distinctive in face pattern, shape and speculum pattern.

Wood Ducks usually nest in cavities in trees close to water, although they will take advantage of nesting boxes in wetland locations if available. The ducks’ personality is shy and skittish.

The birds are year-round residents in East Texas and other southern parts of their range, but the northern populations migrate south for the winter. They overwinter in the southern United States near the Atlantic coast.

These birds feed by dabbling or walking on land. They mainly eat berries and seeds, but also insects, making them omnivores.


A bird in the hand

A bird in the hand does it on your wrist.

Graffiti at Bury St. Edmunds


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