WOOD DUCK – (Aix sponsa)
The Wood duck is a perching duck, i.e. it will perch on trees in the forest. It is approximately 50 cm (20 in.) long, with a boxy and crested head in both sexes. The drake is VERY colorful, starting with an iridescent green head with white lines, a white throat, a rusty breast mottled with light grey, grey under parts, beige sides, with black on the wings and tail and a dark green back. The bill is red, white, black and orange at the base. The eyes are red, and the legs orange. The female has duller colors.
The English name ‘Duck’ is from Anglo-saxon ‘duce’ and means ‘diver’. The wood duck, as the name implies, lives in forests with wetlands such as marshes and beaver ponds. This duck nests in tree holes, and will also use nest boxes if available. The wings are adapted for flying among trees. As with other duck species, the wood duck feeds on vegetation and insects in the water, but also on grain in fields, and tree seeds and acorns in the forest.
The wood duck breeds on PEI and is listed as ‘fairly common’ except in the winter. It migrates to the south central USA and Mexico for the winter. It is a year-round resident for the eastern half of the USA as well. It also can be found in Europe, as per the photo below by Frank Vassen, Brussels.