Wood Ducks: Aix sponsa
Wood ducks are one of the most beautiful ducks in North America. They are small- to medium-sized ducks that can be identified by their crested head and broad, long tail. Males are brightly colored, while females are brownish gray. Both males and females have a white patch around the eyes and males have a white throat and brightly colored head and bill.
Florida is home to year-round (resident) and migratory wood ducks. They inhabit wooded, brushy, or other vegetated wetland areas. Wood ducks nest in tree cavities near lakes, rivers, ponds, and other wetland areas.
Wood ducks spend most of their time in vegetated or wooded wetlands. This makes them difficult to see and count during aerial surveys, unlike other waterfowl species that inhabit more open-water areas. Since wood ducks cannot be counted reliably during aerial surveys, populations have been monitored through banding, experimental monitoring of nest boxes, and harvest surveys.
FWC population assessments indicate that wood duck reproduction in Florida has been typical for the species and higher than for other duck species. The population growth rate for females in Florida suggests a stable population.
Wood duck nest cavities are sometimes in short supply. Fortunately, wood ducks readily accept manmade next boxes in place of natural cavities. FWC personnel maintain wood duck nest boxes on public waters throughout the state and also cooperate with private citizens, government agencies, and groups such as local Ducks Unlimited chapters and Boy Scout troops to erect and maintain nest boxes. Information is available on how to build a Wood Duck Nest Box.