Wood Duck

Aix sponsa

Animals of North America Back
Wood ducks are cavity nesters and typically choose to nest in a tree more than 1 foot and often 2 feet in diameter, with a cavity anywhere from 2 to 60 feet high (higher sites seem to be preferred). Trees near water are preferred, sometimes directly over water, but other times up to 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) away. If natural cavities for nesting are scarce, wood ducks readily use nest boxes. If nest boxes are placed too close together, many females lay eggs in the nests of other females.


Preferred foods include seeds, fruits, and arthropods. When aquatic foods are unavailable will eat acorns and other nuts and grains. They will also eat soybeans, smartweed, water primrose, panic grass, duckweed, millet, waterlily, blackberries and wild cherries, as well as flies, beetles, caterpillars, isopods, and snails. 

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