Wood Duck

photo by Phil Swanson

Aix sponsa
L 18.5″ (47 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Call of female a piercing “tereeek!” or “woo-eeek!” Male gives a hissing squeal.
Bird Map
Description: Male unmistakable, with boldly marked and neatly striped face pattern of green, white and purplish extending into a crest; throat and upper breast brown, with bold white line separating breast from buff flanks and belly; back and wings dark brown, glossy-looking; bill mainly red. Females dark above, with paler brown breast, pale gray belly; head grayish-brown with distinctive patch around eye.

Behavior: Cavity nesting duck usually seen in pairs or small groups.

Habitat: Tree-lined rivers, creeks, oxbows and lakes, and usually breeds near slow-moving rivers, sloughs or ponds where large trees are found.
Where in Nebraska: A common spring and fall migrant and breeder in eastern Nebraska, less common in far west. Found along heavily wooded streams, ponds, lakes and reservoirs. Rarely observed in winter.

Fun Facts: Wood Duck’s nest in tree cavities so when the hatchlings are ready to leave the nest the mother calls to them and without any help they jump to the ground without injury. The ducklings can jump from up to 290 feet to the ground.

Female Wood Duck - photo by Phil Swanson Wood Duck - photo by Phil Swanson

(click image for larger view)