Courtesy of Kenn Kaufman
This species breeds across southern Canada, throughout much of the United States, and south to Cuba along wooded streams and ponds. It is absent from the Great Plains and the southwest, largely because of a lack of suitable habitat.
A legend for the range map to the right can be found here.
Wood Ducks are found in slow-moving woodland rivers, shallow ponds, and marshes, often in areas where large shade trees overhang the water. They also occur in open marshes adjacent to forested areas
Seeds from aquatic plants, and tree seeds that fall into the water, play a major part of the Wood Duck's diet. However, the ducks also feed directly on aquatic plants, along with insects and crustaceans. In certain areas, acorns and waste grains are widely consumed.
Wood Ducks nest in tree cavities near the water or as far as a mile away, sometimes as high as 60 feet off the ground. Wood Duck nest boxes are also commonly used. The female creates a soft nest using down feathers from her breast. She then lays 6 to 15 creamy white eggs, which she incubates for 25 to 35 days. Just a day after hatching, young Wood Ducks leap from their nesting cavities to the ground below where their mother waits. Because they are light and fluffy, they land unharmed, and are led to the nearest water.
In the winter, Wood Ducks withdraw to the southern and westernmost part of their breeding range. Occasionally, they may even visit Mexico. The male follows his mate to her nesting area, so migration routes and goals can vary from year to year, depending on which mate is chosen.