Wood duck

Aix sponsa

Considered one of the most stunning of all waterfowl, the wood duck's scientific name, Aix sponsa means "waterbird in bridal dress".

Wood duck Behavior and facts

  • Wood ducks are one of few waterfowl to commonly perch in trees.
  • Wood ducks have strong claws, which allow them to grip branches.
  • Wood ducks have bright red eyes and a reddish beak.
  • They forage or dabble for food in shallow water – eating seeds, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates.
  • Wood ducks are the only North American duck that regularly produces two broods a year.

Life history

  • Unlike most waterfowl, the wood duck builds its nest in tree cavities near water.
  • Females usually lay 6-16 eggs, which they incubate for 25-37 days.
  • Ducklings are well developed and able to leave the nest on the same day that they hatch.
  • Young wood ducks leave the nest by jumping out of their tree cavity to the ground. The drop can sometimes exceed 100 feet.
  • Young are typically able to fly by the time they are 8-10 weeks old.


IUCN Least concern

Wood ducks, the Oregon Zoo and you

The zoo's wood ducks live in the Cascade Stream and Pond aviary.