Wood Duck

Waterfowl Identification

With its striking green crested head, white bridle, orange-reddish bill and eye, the drake Wood Duck,Aix sponsa, is a spectacular bird. It has a white flecked chestnut breast, yellow flanks and a black back. The hen has a white patch around the eye, white underside, brown back and sides mottled with tan and gray. Both sexes have steel blue wing patches.
Image comparing drake and hen/UISFWS Drake images

Found in all flyways; most numerous in the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways and fewest in the Central. They are early migrants; most of them have left the northern States by mid-November.

Frequents wooded streams and ponds; perches in trees. Flies through thick timber with speed and ease and often feeds on acorns, berries, and grapes on the forest floors. Flight is swift and direct; flocks are usually small. In the air, their wings make a rustling, swishing sound.

Length: 18 1/2"
Weight: 1 1/2 lbs.

Image comparing fulvous and Black-bellied whistling ducks wings/USFWS


 Distribution Map

Similar Species

In Flight
In flight illustration/USFWS In flight illustration/USFWS Flock Pattern

Drakes call hoo-w-ett, often in flight; hens have a cr-r-ek when frightened.

Last Updated: November 14, 2018