An illustrated Wood Duck shows a variety of colors.

You’re just minding your own business when all of a sudden a flash of color drops down from a tree…

It’s Woodrow the Wood Duck. If you walk past him, he jumps down, and he and his friends follow you around with cheeky struts, wagging their tails. As soon as he finds water though, he swims off, busy on his mission to find food in the River of Grass!

Biology in the Wild

Wood ducks live in forests near swamps, lakes and rivers from Canada down to Florida and into Mexico. Unlike most ducks, they nest in holes of trees, even if the trees are miles away from the water! They have webbed feet for paddling, but also a strong grip, allowing them to perch on tree branches—something other ducks have trouble with. Wood ducks are also one of the most colorful birds in the duck family. How many different hues can you spot in their plumage? They eat anything from aquatic vegetation, to acorns, nuts and even insects and snails.