Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)


French: Canard branchu German: Brautente Spanish: Pato joyuyo
Other common names: Carolina Duck

Anas Sponsa


, 1758,

North America = Carolina ex Catesby


In study of E and W populations of this species, the two were found to exhibit clear genetic differences (suggesting that they have been diverging for a considerable time), but no evidence of diagnostic monophyletic lineages#R. Monotypic.


W, C and E North America; Cuba; C Mexico (Nazas River). In winter reaches NE Mexico and Bahamas.

Descriptive notes

43–54 cm; male 544–862 g, female 482–862 g; wingspan 68–74 cm. Male unmistakable Male flying and has female-like eclipse plumage. In breeding... read more


Relatively silent: male gives soft, high, rising whistle in contact and burping “pfits” in... read more


Freshwater swamps, marshes, pools, lakes and slow-flowing rivers surrounded by dense deciduous... read more

Food and feeding

Acorns, nuts and seeds and green parts of various aquatic plants. Seeds taken include those of bald cypress, hickories, button bush, arrow... read more


Starts Feb–Apr, exceptionally Jan in Florida, with earliest egg laying 13 Apr in C Wisconsin (mean 1 May), and occasionally double-... read more


Partially migratory, with northernmost portion of breeding birds flying S to winter at lower... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Due to overhunting the world population of this species reached a low in the late 1930s when great concern arose about its future.... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Wood Duck (Aix sponsa). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 June 2019).