New Zealand Status: Zoo Collection
Conservation Status: n/a
Aix sponsa, commonly known as the wood duck, is a medium-sized perching duck from North America. Adults typically are between 470mm to 540mm in length and have a wingspan of between 660mm to 730mm making them around three quarters of the size of an adult mallard. It is closely related to the Asian Mandarin duck (Aix galericulata).
The adult male has distinctive multicolored iridescent plumage, red eyes, and a distinctive white flare down the neck. The female is less colorful with a white eye-ring and a whitish throat. Both adults have crested heads. Unlike most ducks, Aix sponsa has sharp claws for perching in trees.
The breeding habitat of Aix sponsa is wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes, ponds and creeks in eastern North America and the west coast of the United States. They usually nest in cavities in trees close to water and will take advantage of nesting boxes in wetland locations if available.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader