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Carolina Wood Duck, Aix sponsa


Short description of Aix sponsa, Carolina Wood Duck

The wood duck is the only congener of mandarin duck Aix galericulata and females and young birds are hard to distinguish from that species.  The wood duck has a shorter and thicker white stripe behind the eye, and tends to have a blue-green gloss on the wing coverts.  Drake wood ducks have bright red eyes and bill, a crested green head with bright white lines across the face, and a single white line at the sides of the breast, but are duller during the moult in late summer.

Description of Aix sponsa, Carolina Wood Duck status in GB

There are sporadic reports of wood ducks from many parts of England, and also from Wales and Scotland, including birds that are hatching young, but no wild-living population has yet become established.

Habitat summary: Aix sponsa, Carolina Wood Duck

Like the more-familiar mandarin, the wood duck favours secluded lakes or slow-flowing water and woodland with large tree-holes.   Non-breeding birds also occur on more open sites such as larger lakes and reservoirs.

Overview table

Environment: Terrestrial and Freshwater
Species status: Non-Native
Native range: Northern America, Mexico, Anguilla, Alberta, British Columbia, Labrador, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Cuba, St.Pierre-Miquelon
Functional type: Herbivore
Status in England: Non-Native
Status in Scotland: Non-Native
Status in Wales: Non-Native
Location of first record: near Plymouth
Date of first record: 1873

Distribution map

Map of the UK with areas shaded to show the UK distribution of Carolina Wood Duck

GB Distribution from NBN Atlas

Author's name:

John Marchant

Last updated:

September 23rd 2016

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Thin strip of image show tree trunk and bark