Bible College
Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials
Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials
Way of Life Bible College
The Wood Duck
May 26, 2019 (first published January 25, 2018)
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
The Wood Duck

The Wood Duck (Photo by David Cloud)

The stunning wood duck (also known as the Carolina duck or the “woodie”) gets its common name from the fact that it nests in trees and, unlike most ducks, is equipped with claws that can grip bark and perch on branches.

Few things in creation are more beautiful than the male (drake) wood duck in full breeding plumage (from autumn to early summer). His plumage is a riot of deep red, black, iridescent green and blue, brown, tan, chestnut, orange, and purple set off by white stripes. His eyes are bright red with black pupils, and the back of his bill is also bright red. His crested head looks like a fancy hat. He looks like a brilliant painting, but he is a living, breathing, flying creature.

The female is less showy, but she is beautiful in a demure way, with multiple shades of brown, a white-speckled breast, a white eye ring, black eyes fronted by a yellow stripe, and a slight crest on the back of her head. The chestnut brown feathers on her back are oval shaped and look almost like the seeds of a pine cone. Like the female mallard, she has and an iridescent blue rectangular
speculum on the top rear of the wings. Part of this blue patch is visible when the female’s wings are folded.

Wood ducks are smaller than mallards, 19-21 inches in length with a wingspan of 26-29 inches.

They can fly 30 miles an hour and are very agile, able to fly through woods by means of its broad tail and short, broad wings.

The wood duck is a dabbling duck, meaning that it dips its head under water in search of food.

The male courts the female in January by swimming in front of her with its wings and tail elevated, thus showing off his colorful plumage. If she likes him, she will follow him and they will pair up until spring.

Some of females lay their eggs in the nest of another female or even lay them in a place where no incubation takes place. This is called “nest dumping.”

The wood duck is a cavity nester. It likes to nest in cavities in trees within one mile of water. Usually the cavity is formed when a large branch breaks off and the place becomes rotten. They will also readily nest in manmade boxes. The female plucks soft down feathers from her belly to line the nest. The male stays with the female during incubation and leaves just before they hatch.

The day after hatching, the ducklings must jump to the ground and follow the mother to water. They jump from heights of up to 65 feet without injury! By this time the ducklings can swim and feed. The mother stays with the ducklings for 5-6 weeks but leaves before they can fly at 8-9 weeks.

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