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The Wood Duck, also known as Carolina Duck, is one of the most beautiful duck species from North America.
Size: The adult perching ducks can grow anywhere between 19 inches and 21 inches (47 m and 54 cm) in length.
Their distribution range includes the eastern parts of North America from the southern regions of Canada to Southern United States.
They prefer shallow or slow-moving waters near woodlands and live in freshwater wooded ponds, swamps, marshes, streams and rivers. The diet of these omnivorous creatures mainly consists of water plants like duckweed, watermeal, pondweeds, wild rice and smartweeds as well as aquatic insects and invertebrates (clams, snails).
Females tend to come back to the same hatching site every year during the breeding season, along with their mates. The ducks are social in nature usually moving in pairs or small groups containing less than 20 birds. They are preyed upon by various carnivorous mammals like dogs, wolves, wild cats, foxes and skunks. Additionally, they have sharp claws that enable them to easily move on the ground and perch in tree branches.
Their short, broad wings and broad tails enable them to change direction quickly while flying.
The southern populations mate from mid-March to mid-April while the mating season for the northern populations begins during the later parts of March and continues through April. The males attract the females with their attractive breeding plumage and their distinctive calls.
The incubation period of this species varies from 28 to 32 days, depending on populations and distribution range.
The ducklings then jump from the nest to the ground and find their way to the water body where they will be raised. Northern populations migrate to southern regions of North America, such as the Bahamas, Cuba and certain parts of Mexico. Adults make twelve distinct sounds for communicating with others of the species while ducklings have 5 different calls.
Housing: It is essential to provide them with a large clean pond, at least 6 sq ft in size, with vegetation growth and woodlands surrounding it.
Nest Box: Despite providing them with plenty of woodland growth, one also has to place a few nest boxes in and around the area.
Feeding: They should be provided with a well-balanced waterfowl food available in various pet stores.
Wood Ducks have been featured on various items like pipes and bowls used by prehistoric Indians. It is one of the most popular game birds of North America, ranking second only to Mallard Ducks in numbers shot every year in the US.
North American fishermen use the colorful features of the drakes for making flies and lures.
Wood ducks (male and female) at Prince's Island park, Calgary downtown, Alberta Canada.
Author's commentI was so excited finding this pair which I identified immediately specially for the unmistakable male of vibrant colors. The Mandarin and Wood Duck page contains 41 images of these exceptionally attractive perching ducks.Mandarins are originally from East Asia, but were introduced in collections in Europe and North Americabeginning in the mid-18th century, and escaped to establish feral populations in the wild. Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.The Banner below leads to the Ducks Collection page where a Gallery can be selected. Click the Display Composite above to return to the Ducks, Geese and Swans section index page. Drakes have a colorful appearance with the top of their head being a metallic purple-green with distinct white stripes extending up the cheeks. Various birds of prey such as great horned owls, eagles, hawks, condors, falcons and vultures are also known to feed on the ducks.
During the courting season, the drakes swim in front of females with their tail and wings elevated to impress them. Females unable to find their own nesting holes visit the nests of other Wood Ducks to lay eggs and leave them there to be hatched by the female in the nest.
The baby Wood Ducks often jump from great heights to land on the ground; they are known to be able to jump from up to 290 ft tall trees without any injuries.
However, they have a much longer life expectancy in captivity which extends up to 15 to 20 years.
The birds can nest in these boxes in case there are not cavities enough to fulfill their nesting needs. However, loss of habitat, overhunting and deforestation may become a threat to their existence in the near future. There is a white stripe running along the dark face while the eyes and beak are bright red in color.
The largest populations are found in the southern parts of New Jersey, along the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf Coast. Water bodies with woody debris such as stumps, logs and standing trees as well as green vegetation are most suitable for them. The Wood ducklings leave the nest shortly after birth as they are raised in water instead of in the nest. The Wood Ducks prefer to build their nest over water so that the young ducks can have an easier landing.
The females make a high-pitched squeal “do-weep do-weep” and a sharp squeaking sound “cr-r-ek, cr-e-ek”. The trees should be tall with broad stems to allow the birds perch and nest in their cavities. Providing them with an all-purpose vitamin and mineral supplement for waterfowl helps to ensure their overall health. Males have a distinct helmeted head, and the femaleMandarin and Wood Duck are very similar. The base of their bills is marked with yellow dots while the sides of their bodies are pale yellow with black-white stripes along the edges. In case they cannot find any tree cavity, the birds often use nest boxes provided by humans. The ducklings are able to swim and find food without the help of the adults from the next day after hatching. The nest box should have a 4-inch broad door and a ramp at 45-degree angle to allow the pets to enter easily. The female surveys the surrounding area for predators before flying to the ground and calling the brood. It is also essential to place some wood shavings in the box for the birds to use them as nest material. The juvenile birds resemble the females except for their mottled and streaked brownish belly.
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Published at: Storage Buildings