Male White wood ducks have a crested head that is
Lightly beige with a white stripe
leading from the eye to the end of the crest and
another, narrower white stripe from the base of the
bill to the tip of the crest. The throat is white and
the chest is a light beige or buff with white flecks, gradually
grading into a white belly. The bill is brightly
patterned black, white, and red. The legs and feet are
dull straw-yellow, and the iris is red. The male call
is a thin, high, rising "jeeeeee." Female
White wood ducks have an all white body with sometimes
a very faint yellow in the crest of the head. The bill is
light orange-ish pink and the legs and feet are
orange-ish pink. Females utter a drawn-out, rising
squeal, "oo-eek" when flushed, and a sharp
"cr-r-ek, cr-e-ek" for an alarm call.
Breeding Wood Ducks in captivity presents no problems
as long as you provide a nest box. The nest boxes need
to be at least 10" square and depth of 2 feet.
The boxes should be placed about 20" or so off
the ground, and an entrance hole should be about
4" in diameter. A ladder, leading from the ground
to the entrance hole, must be provided if the birds
have been restricted (pinioned), from flying. Nesting
material must be placed inside the box, I have used
sawdust, pine shavings and dry leaves. The hen will
pull some breast feathers to line the nest. A piece of
wire mesh or screen should be placed in side the box,
just beneath the entrance hole. This enables the hen
and the ducklings to get traction on the flat plywood.
The breeding season begins in April and the hens will
lay a clutch of about 15 cream colored eggs. I have
seen several of my hens nest in one box, leaving the
eggs for one hen to incubate, so clutch sizes may vary
if you have more than one pair in the aviary. The eggs
hatch in about 28 to 30 days and the ducklings grow
quickly and are able to fly at about 8 to 10 weeks.
The ducklings are very active and need a spacious
brooder if not raised by the mother. Young males will
resemble their adult counterparts by their first fall.
White Wood ducks are NOT Hybrids, they are in fact
a Mutation which occurs naturally in the wild. The
reason it is not seen often is that these lighter
colored birds are often preyed upon because of their
light color which makes them stand out.
The Wood Duck, along with the Mandarin, are the two best and most often, the first ducks a beginner to this hobby has. They are extremely hardy and a great choice for those with limited space. I once had success in an aviary that measured only 10'x10'. Wood Ducks are compatible with other species of waterfowl, as well as other birds as long as the aviary is large enough to give each species it's own space.
Although the ducks would prefer a large pond, it is not necessary. I've seen people make some very attractive ponds out of wading pools and large tubs. Just be sure to provide plenty of fresh, clean water.
Wood Ducks are very fast fliers, and if the bird's wings are not clipped or pinioned, you will need a covered pen.
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Wood Duck Drake
Wood Duck Hen
White Wood Duck Trio