Aix Sponsa – Wood Duck

Aix Sponsa - Wood Duck found in the US

The wood duck, sometimes known as the Carolina duck (Aix sponsa), is a North American species of perching duck. The drake wood duck is one of the most colorful ducks seen in North America.

Quick Overview: Aix Sponsa – Wood Duck
Body size: Around 17-20 in (43-51 cm) and a weight of 680 g (24 oz)
Main colors: Brown, White, Purple- Brown, Yellow, Green, Purple
Range: Throughout the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: June, July, August, September
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Wood Duck Description

Brown back, white throat, purple-brown breast with white flecks grading to a white belly; buff-yellow flanks. Green and purple crest with white stripes; white throat with two bands, one of which extends as a partial collar and the other of which reaches behind and below the eyes.

Aix Sponsa - Wood Duck found in the US
Aix Sponsa – Wood Duck. Photo by: Judy Gallagher


These birds have a length of 17-20 in (43-51 cm) and a weight of 680 g (24 oz). Their wings could range from 28-30 in (71-76 cm).


Seeds, acorns, and other small nuts; grains; fruits; and algae are all foods that the wood duck consumes. Additionally, pondweeds, cypress seeds, sedges, grasses, and duckweed are consumed.


The Wood Duck is a widespread bird found in riparian areas, forested swamps, and freshwater marshes.


Wood Ducks have a swift pace and a more erect posture than dabbling ducks; they frequently forage on land near the water’s edge. Females frequently migrate overland with their young to brood-rearing areas. When ducklings leave the nest cavity, they are capable of walking, hopping, and climbing; nesting adults are probably also capable to some level.

Aix Sponsa Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Genus: Aix
  • Species: Aix sponsa

Other common names

Also known as the Carolina Duck.

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the summer season (June – September).

Distribution of the Wood Duck in the USA

Breeds throughout the majority of the central and eastern United States, southeastern Canada, and the Pacific coast from California to British Columbia. A resident of the southeastern United States, the West Coast, and a few isolated locations throughout the West.

The Wood Duck can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Aix Sponsa – Wood Duck

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