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A duck with long green and brown feathers on its head in the shape of a backwards-hat
Information icon A wood duck at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Robin Koch, USFWS volunteer.

Wood duck

Aix sponsa

  • Taxon: Anseriformes, Anatidae
  • Range: Wood ducks are common year-round in the Southeastern United States and during summer and autumn throughout the Eastern United States and Canada. Wood ducks breed in most states east of the Rocky Mountains and throughout the Pacific Northwest, but they migrate from northern states and provinces to southern areas during early fall.
  • Status: Not listed, low concern – Although breeding population estimates are not available for wood ducks based on breeding surveys, perhaps as many as 3 million breeding pairs exist across North America.
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    Wood duck


True to their name, wood ducks thrive in forested wetlands such as bottomland forests, swamps, freshwater marshes, streams, creeks, and beaver ponds. Wood ducks nest primarily in tree cavities, which are hollow areas in living and dead trees.

A male and female duck standing on a branch in a tall tree
Wood ducks in a tree at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by William Powell, USFWS.


Acorns are the primary winter food of choice, but the ducks also visit agricultural fields to feed on waste grain. Wood ducks will consume the seeds of bald cypress, hickory, gum, buttonbush, and other species. During summer and fall, wood ducks feed on a variety of seeds, invertebrates, and plants in shallow areas of lakes and wetlands.

Male and female duck on a cold lake with snow on the bank
Wood ducks at Lake Isom National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Drew Wirwa, USFWS.

Subject matter expert

Designated critical habitat

This species is not listed as under the Endangered Species Act; there is no critical habitat designated.

Federal Register notices

The following Federal Register documents were automatically gathered by searching the Federal Register Official API with this species’ scientific name ordered by relevance. You can conduct your own search on the Federal Register website.

  • We're sorry but an error occurred. Visit the Federal Register to conduct your own search.

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