Newfoundland Travel - Birding: Wood Duck

Many different species of ducks inhabit the fresh water ponds in the province of Newfoundland, Canada and, for the price of a few scoops of birdseed, most are quite willing to pose for beautiful wildlife photography snapshots. Meet the amazing wood duck.

Male wood duck preening his partner as they stand on the rocky shore of a fresh water lake.
Male wood duck preening his partner as they stand on the rocky shore of a fresh water lake.

The beautiful wood duck is one of my favourite species to photograph. Its distinctively rich colors, petite size, and high pitched voice are just a few things I enjoy when encountering wood ducks on my birding expeditions.

Male wood duck standing on a rocky shoreline of Kenny's Pond, St. John's, Newfoundland.
The male wood duck's feathers are iridescent during mating season.

The male is extremely attractive with red eyes, a colorful bill, iridescent pathwork feathers, and a lovely long crown. #woodduck #nature #duck #wildlifevery

Female wood duck wading in the shallow shores of Virginia Lake, St. John's, Newfoundland.
The female wood duck has more earth toned colorations and a white band encircling each eye.

The female wood duck has white circles around her eyes and more earth toned colorations. Her brown coat enables her to camouflage from predators and increases the likelihood of her, and her chicks, survival. #femalewoodduck, #malewoodduck

Rock pigeon and wood duck walking in opposite directions on a grassy field.
For size comparison, the male wood duck is similarly sized to the pigeon.

For size comparison, here is a male wood duck walking in a grassy field alongside a rock pigeon. #rockpigeon #birding

Here are a paired couple of wood ducks standing on boulders on the shore of Virginia Lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.
The male wood duck is on the left; the female on the right.

The male and female wood duck pair in January for their spring mating season.

This male wood duck, in breeding plumage, displays colorful neon bands on its face.
During mating season, the male wood duck has brilliantly colored plumage.

In mating season, the male wood duck's coloring is quite pronounced and, in addition to his iridescent neon colors, his plumage tones cause his face to appear clown-like as if he has overapplied makeup.

Male wood duck swimming away from the shore of Kenny's Pond, Newfoundland.
Male wood duck swimming away from the shore of Kenny's Pond, Newfoundland.

To get the attention of the ladies, this male wood duck postures with his wings held upright as he stands alongside a boulder at lakeside.
To get the attention of the ladies, this male wood duck postures alongside a boulder at lakeside.

Male wood duck, its crown ruffled, is preening itself on a boulder on the coast of a fresh water lake.
Male wood duck, its crown ruffled, is preening itself on a boulder on the coast of a fresh water lake.

Male wood duck in its eclipse plumage on the shore of a fresh water lake in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Male wood duck in its eclipse plumage.

After mating season, the male wood duck loses his feathers and displays what is referred to as eclipse plumage. During the feather loss, ducks lose all of their flight feathers at once and are more vulnerable to attack because they are flightless for a period of time. The duller coat that replaces his vibrant mating colors enable him to hide from predators.

The wood duck in his eclipse plumage has an appearance much different from his breeding coat.


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