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Female Wood Duck

Female Wood Duck
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-07-14
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/400 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-02-15 7:10
Viewed: 3221
Points: 56
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Almost everybody knows the beauty of the male Wood Duck or Carolina Duck. But, as you can see, the female is very beautiful too.
I’ve made this photo in Welt Vogel Park Walsrode in Germany.

The Wood Duck or Carolina Duck (Aix sponsa) is a species of duck found in North America. It is one of the most colourful of North American waterfowl.

The Wood Duck is a medium-sized perching duck. A typical adult is from 47 to 54 cm in length with a wingspan of between 66 to 73 cm. This is about three-quarters of the length of an adult Mallard. It shares its genes with the Asian Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata).

The adult male has distinctive multicoloured iridescent plumage and red eyes,with a distinctive white flare down the neck. The female, less colourful, has a white eye-ring and a whitish throat. Both adults have crested heads. When swimming, Wood Ducks bob their head back and forth in a jerking motion, which makes them easy to spot.

The male's call is a rising whistle, "jeeeeee"; the females utter a drawn-out, rising squeal, "oo-eek," when flushed, and a sharp "cr-r-ek, cr-e-ek" for an alarm call.

Their breeding habitat is wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes or ponds, and creeks in eastern North America, the west coast of the United States and western Mexico. They usually nest in cavities in trees close to water, although they will take advantage of nesting boxes in wetland locations if available.

Females line their nests with feathers and other soft materials, and the elevation provides some protection from predators. Unlike most other ducks, the Wood Duck has sharp claws for perching in trees and can, in southern regions, produce two broods in a single season—the only North American duck that can do so.
Females typically lay between 7 and 15 white-tan eggs that incubate for an average of 30 days. However, if nesting boxes are placed too close together, females may lay eggs in the nests of their neighbours, which may lead to nests which may contain as many as 30 eggs and unsuccessful incubation, a behaviour known as "nest dumping".

After hatching, the ducklings jump down from the nest tree and make their way to water. The mother calls them to her, but does not help them in any way. The ducklings may jump from heights of up to 88 meters without injury. They prefer nesting over water so the young have a soft landing, but will nest up to 140 m. away from the shoreline. The day after they hatch, the young climb to the nest entrance and jump to the ground. The ducklings can swim and find their own food by this time.

These birds feed by dabbling or walking on land. They mainly eat berries, acorns, and seeds, but also insects, making them omnivores.

The birds are year-round residents in parts of its southern range, but the northern populations migrate south for the winter. They overwinter in the southern United States near the Atlantic coast. 75% of the Wood Ducks in the Pacific Flyway are non-migratory. They are also popular, due to their attractive plumage, in waterfowl collections and as such are frequently recorded in Great Britain as escapes—populations have become temporarily established in Surrey in the past but are not considered to be self-sustaining in the fashion of the closely related Mandarin Duck. Given its native distribution the species is also a potential natural vagrant to Western Europe and there have been records in areas such as Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly which some observers consider may relate to wild birds; however, given the Wood Duck's popularity in captivity it would be extremely difficult to prove their provenance one way or another. There is a small feral population in Dublin.

The population of the Wood Duck was in serious decline in the late 19th century as a result of severe habitat loss and market hunting both for meat and plumage for the ladies' hat market in Europe. By the beginning of the 20th century Wood Ducks had virtually disappeared from much of their former range. In response to the Migratory Bird Treaty established in 1916 and enactment of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, wood duck populations began to slowly recover. By ending unregulated hunting and taking measures to protect remaining habitat, wood duck populations began to rebound in the 1920s. The development of the artificial nesting box in the 1930s gave an additional boost to Wood Duck production.

The population of the Wood Duck has increased a great deal in the last several years. The increase has been due to the work of many people constructing Wood Duck boxes and conserving vital habitat for the Wood Ducks to breed. During the open waterfowl season, U.S. hunters have only been allowed to take two Wood Ducks per day in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways. However, for the 2008–2009 season, the limit was raised to three. The Wood Duck limit remains at two in the Central Flyway and at seven in the Pacific Flyway. It is the second most commonly hunted duck in North America, after the mallard.

Source: Wikipedia

Miss_Piggy, joska, maaciejka, maurydv, nicozanghi, CeltickRanger, ana974, PaulLees, bungbing, Argus, pierrefonds, anel has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hallo Peter
This is a super image with great colours and details all in one. Perfect photography in all aspects. Composition, focus, point of view, background, natural sunlight, you name it, all is great. Indeed a praiseworthy photograph. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

  • Great 
  • joska Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 806 W: 0 N: 4092] (22535)
  • [2012-02-15 7:42]

Hello Peter,
Excellent photo of this Duck, veri interesting species, TFS!

Hello Peter,
Very good shot!Very nice compozition with great details and lovely colours.
Best regards

Indeed, a beautiful duck with brilliant streaks of colour. The duck stands well forward from the background. Good light and excellent detail. Nice pose.
regards yiannis

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2012-02-15 8:56]

Hi Peter,there is a magic light inside this pic,this make the difference! Beautiful specie and great sharpness and colors,very well done,i like it! Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano

Hi Peter,
very nice photo of this water bird. Great sharpness and details. Very nice colours.
Thanks for sharing,

hallo Peter
Dit is weer een super mooie eend
Vooral die mooie blauwe veren tussen zijn vleugel vallen goed op
bedankt groetjes lou

Hallo Peter,
a very beautiful portrait of the Wood Duck fenale, very good sharpness, marvellous colours and reflections, excellent point of view
Best regards

Ciao Peter. Amazing playing of light and colours for the detailed Duck taken from the hight POV. very good details.


Hello Peter
Beautiful vibrant colors and details managed in the best light. greetings
Hello Nico TFS

Buen ángulo de disparo con todo el motivo dentro del foco. Preciosos y naturales colores.
Saludos Peter: J. Ignasi.

Ciao Peter, great capture of lovely duck with fantastic colors, fascinating reflections, fine details and splendid sharpness, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Peter

Beautiful photo of this lovely duck, soon in
about 2 months they will come back to a pond not
far from my home, i am waiting them to go shoot
them in photo with my new DSLR !

Fine POV to show its beautiful plumage with
the spiral and reflection on the water,
excellent sharpness and details of the plumage,
just one thing if you could obtain details
of the white contour of his eye, TFS


  • Great 
  • ana974 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 477 W: 48 N: 968] (4857)
  • [2012-02-15 18:57]

Hello Peter!
Beautiful shot showing this lovely duck female.Yes, it very charming!
I love the colors and the reflections.A very sharp image,very pleasant and ...in a simple word:GORGEOUS!Congrats and TFS!
Regards from,

Hi Peter, Very nice capture of the Female Wood Duck my good friend, excellent exposure with good lighting control, superb colour tones, splendid detailed sharpness, great effort and very well done,
Best Regards,


Beautiful subject and impressive photo Peter! Very good composition, wonderful colours and good sharpness.

Hello Peter,
Beautiful capture, great POV,lovely natural colors and great sharpness.Beautiful specimen.
Thank You
Best regards

Hello Peter,
A beautiful picture of this Female Wood Duck, excellent details sharpness, lovely eye-contact, good lighting and beautiful natural colours, a very well captured,
Thanks for sharing and have a nice day,
Best Regards,

a very beautiful female Carolina Duck! nice work of bird photography in all aspect. good clarity and colour.

Hello Peter,
This is so different bird, I did not see befor this one.
Well done.

indeed also beautiful, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2012-02-17 3:57]

Hello Peter,
lively view from the top that display the duck features so well. The shiny feathers and the detailed body are well seen.
The water id very special too, as it mute the background.
nice presentation.


  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2012-02-17 7:25]

Hello Peter,
A very fine capture of this female Wood Duck. The POV is ideal for showing her features, taken with excellent sharpness and natural colours against the water BG in a pleasing composition.
Thanks and have a good weekend,

Hello Peter, by including the slight reflection of the ducks head you have added another dimension to an already fine shot.
Regards Les.

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2012-02-18 4:30]

Hi Peter,
Nice photo of this duck. Nice colours with excellent details.
Nice reflection the duck in the water.
Regards Jiri.

Hi Peter,

The reflections on the water are assets to the composition. The point of view is showing the details and colors of the female Wood duck. The quality of the light is enhancing the colors. Have a nice day.


Hi Peter,
excellent details for this duck. Very sharp and good colours. Good notes too,

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2012-03-08 1:49]

Hello Peter,
I missed some beautiful shots of yours in my absence. These Wood ducks are -as you say- so cute and you succeeded to take a very charming picture.Lovely blue feathers looking from underneath the greyish plumage. A very serene shot.
Thanks and kind regards

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