The Wood Duck or Carolina Duck (Aix sponsa) is a species of duck found
in North America. It is one of the most colourful of North American
waterfowl The Wood Duck is a medium-sized perching duck. A typical
adult is from 47 to 54 cm (19 to 21 in) in length with a wingspan of
between 66 to 73 cm (26 to 29 in). This is about three-quarters of the
length of an adult Mallard. It shares its genes with the Asian
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata).The adult male has distinctive
multicoloured iridescent plumage and red eyes,with a distinctive white
flare down the neck. The female, less colourful, has a white eye-ring
and a whitish throat. Both adults have crested heads. When swimming,
Wood Ducks bob their head back and forth in a jerking motion, which
makes them easy to spot.
The male's call is a rising whistle, "jeeeeee"; the females utter a drawn-out, rising squeal, "oo-eek," when flushed, and a sharp "cr-r-ek, cr-e-ek" for an alarm call.Their breeding habitat is wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes or ponds, and creeks in eastern North America, the west coast of the United States and western Mexico. They usually nest in cavities in trees close to water, although they will take advantage of nesting boxes in wetland locations if available. Females line their nests with feathers and other soft materials, and the elevation provides some protection from predators. Unlike most other ducks, the Wood Duck has sharp claws for perching in trees and can, in southern regions, produce two broods in a single season—the only North American duck that can do so.
Females typically lay between 7 and 15 white-tan eggs that incubate for an average of 30 days. However, if nesting boxes are placed too close together, females may lay eggs in the nests of their neighbours, which may lead to nests which may contain as many as 40 eggs and unsuccessful incubation, a behaviour known as "nest dumping".After hatching, the ducklings jump down from the nest tree and make their way to water. The mother calls them to her, but does not help them in any way. The ducklings may jump from heights of up to 88 metres (290 ft) without injury. They prefer nesting over water so the young have a soft landing, but will nest up to 140 m (150 yd) away from the shoreline. The day after they hatch, the young climb to the nest entrance and jump to the ground. The ducklings can swim and find their own food by this time.These birds feed by dabbling or walking on land. They mainly eat berries, acorns, and seeds, but also insects, making them omnivores.The birds are year-round residents in parts of its southern range, but the northern populations migrate south for the winter. They overwinter in the southern United States near the Atlantic coast. 75% of the Wood Ducks in the Pacific Flyway are non-migratory. They are also popular, due to their attractive plumage, in waterfowl collections and as such are frequently recorded in Great Britain as escapes—populations have become temporarily established in Surrey in the past but are not considered to be self-sustaining in the fashion of the closely related Mandarin Duck. Given its native distribution the species is also a potential natural vagrant to Western Europe and there have been records in areas such as Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly which some observers consider may relate to wild birds; however, given the Wood Duck's popularity in captivity it would be extremely difficult to prove their provenance one way or another
L'anatra sposa (Aix sponsa), è un uccello appartenente alla famiglia
delle Anatidae, il genere Aix di cui fa parte questa anatra appare
nella forma adulta maschile di un variopinto piumaggio e con gli occhi
rossi mentre la femmina è meno appariscente. La popolazione era in
forte declino all'inizio del XX secolo in seguito alla caccia ma
grazie a leggi specifiche e programmi adatti risulta nuovamente
diffuso quasi come un tempo.La lunghezza media di un esemplare maschio
è così composta:Lunghezza del corpo 40 cm -
Apertura alare 70 cm - Lunghezza della coda 10 cm .L'anatra sposa è diffusa in tutti gli Stati Uniti, e durante le migrazioni stagionali visita l'America centrale e le Indie occidentali.Si ciba di grani e di semi, piccole piante, piccoli pesci, vermi, insetti, rettili e piccoli vertebrati.Durante la stagione dell'amore le coppie si esibiscono in acqua, dove gli esemplari maschi cercano di attirare l'attenzione di possibili compagne e combattono i rivali. Le coppie formate appaiono molto unite. La femmina depone dalle 9 alle 14 uova.
font : Wikipedia