Carolina Duck

Aix sponsa

Check out the wonderful plumage of these ducks in our Middle Aviary!

Species Information

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Carolina ducks are found in wetland areas and wooded swamps on the east coasts on North America and in Mexico.

The ‘wood duck’ is sexually dimorphic. Females have a speckled brown and white plumage, with white rings around their eyes. A male’s plumage is more extravagant, with a green, purple, and blue head, with two striking white lines running parallel from the base of the bill to behind the eyes. They have strong claws, allowing them to grip and perch on branches.

Carolina ducks are omnivores. They mainly feed on aquatic plants, nuts, fruits, and seeds, but also eat invertebrates.

Usually 3-4 years but can live up to 15 years.

Carolina ducks are agile fliers, being able to fly up to 30mph through woodlands due to their broad and manoeuvrable composition. They are social, often spotted in small groups.

Carolinas are serially monogamous, meaning they stay with one mate for an entire season, but may have a different mate in other breeding seasons. Males attract a female by showing off their colourful plumage, and a female will attract the attention of a male by making loud calls. It is not uncommon for these species to produce two broods in a breeding season, in fact they are the only duck in North America to do so. Eggs are incubated in tree holes for about 30 days, and the chicks may leave the nest within the first 24 hours!

Least Concern

These ducks were almost hunted to extinction in the 19th and 20th century. But they are now abundant in North America, due to successful conservation efforts!