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American Wood Duck

Aix sponsa

Did you know?

  • As is usual with birds, the male is more colorful than the female. The female’s plain colors help camouflage her and her chicks, which hide under her wings when threatened.
  • American wood ducks are medium-sized ducks, measuring 17 to 20 inches in length.
  • Their round body shape makes them buoyant, so they sit higher in the water than other ducks.
  • American wood ducks remain with their mates longer than most ducks. A male and female pair off during the winter, and breeding usually doesn't occur until spring or summer.
  • The female normally lays between six and 10 tan or white eggs. She incubates (sits on) them for about a month.

Tall Nursery

Female wood ducks incubate their eggs in tree holes. The elevation provides the eggs protection from predators.

Changing Their Tastes

While adults are plant eaters, young ducklings feed almost entirely on animal life, primarily aquatic (water-dwelling) insects. They gradually change over to a plant diet as they mature.

Threat Level

  • Unknown
  • Common
  • Near Threatened
  • Threatened
  • Endangered
  • Critically Endangered
  • Extinct in the Wild


The American Wood Duck is widespread and abundant.


North America


Freshwater swamps, marshes, lakes

We care about American Wood Ducks

The Saint Louis Zoo supports American wood ducks at the Cypress Swamp, located in the 1904 Flight Cage. Learn more about how we are helping wildlife around the world.

Dedicated to Conservation

Find this animal in Historic Hill


Historic Hill

Historic Hill is a lovely stroll through one of the oldest parts of the Saint Louis Zoo. From the 1904 World’s Fair Flight Cage to the Spanish architectural flavor of the 1920s in the Bird House, Primate House and Herpetarium to the finishing touches of our thoroughly modern exhibits, this area of the Zoo has a unique ambiance and a nostalgic history that make it a great destination.

Explore Historic Hill