Wood Duck

wood duck
Wood ducks are found throughout all 4 US flyways, but are most abundant in the Deep South.

Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) are among the most spectacularly adorned and recognizable North American waterfowl species. Drakes and hens of this species are dimorphic, and each is distinct. Drakes are unmistakable with their large, long crests of iridescent green, red eyes, multi-colored bills, and white throats with prongs extending upwards; a deep chestnut, white-speckled chest and a tan, rectangular underbelly patch. Hens are mostly sooty gray-brown and white underbelly with prominent, white, “teardrop” shaped plumage encircling the eyes. During flight both sexes display flashy blue secondaries and will bob their heads up and down, a behavior that is specific only to this species. The square-shaped tail is a tale-tell sign of woodies in flight. Vocalizations include the hen’s ooo-ee and drake’s high, rising jeeee, which have lead to wood ducks being colloquially referred to as squealers. The Aix genus is shared with only one other species, the equally flamboyant Mandarin Duck.