Wood Duck

October 7, 2014 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org)
[Photo by David Cloud]

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The male wood duck (or Carolina duck, Aix sponsa) in his breeding plumage is one of the most beautiful of birds. Its crested head is iridescent green and purple with white stripes; its chest is burgundy or chestnut with white flecks; its sides are light brown or tan; its back is purple and black with white stripes; its belly is white; its bill is black, white and red; its legs and feet are yellow; and its iris is red.

Unlike most ducks, the wood duck has strong claws that allow it to perch on branches. It can also fly through wooded areas, its short, broad wings and broad tail providing maneuverability.

The wood duck builds its nests in trees and can produce two broods in a single season. The ducklings jump out of the tree and make their way to water only one day after they are hatched, responding to the mother’s call. They can jump from heights of up to 60 feet without injury! They stay with the mother for eight to ten weeks until they can fly.

The wood duck was hunted nearly to extinction in some places in the late 19th century due to the popularity of its plumage for the ladies’ hat market in Europe, but it recovered after being placed under government protection in the 1920s.

While flying, the wood duck bobs its head, something that no other duck does.

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