Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Wood duck
Aix sponsa

 

Taxonomy
Occurence in Illinois
Status
Habitat associations
Guilds
Food-habits
Environmental associations
Life history
Management practices
References


TAXONOMY

 

  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Genus: Aix
  • Species: Aix sponsa
  • Authority: Linnaeus

Comments on taxonomy:
Anas sponsa Linnaeus, Aix sponsa Bonaparte *01*, summer duck, woodie *01,17*. Documentation specimen for Illinois - Illinois State Museum 604804 *02*.

 


OCCURENCE IN ILLINOIS

Common resident throughout state during spring and summer. A fewer number also winter in Illinois *02,03,04,05,06,07,08,09,10,11,12*.

 


STATUS

Items in bold indicate applicable categories
Forest Service Categories: S = recommended for regional sensitive status, F = forest listed species, M = management indicator species

Federal Status:

Endangered Threatened Proposed for listing
Candidate for proposal Recovery plan approved Recovery plan received (USFWS)
Recovery plan in preparation Under notice of review Delisted
Migratory EPA indicator Forest Serv.- Shawnee species (M)

State Status:

Endangered Threatened Proposed

Other:

Game Furbearer Nongame protected
Sportfish Commercial Pest None of the above

Comments on status:
From 1916-1941 the wood duck was given complete protection under the fed. Migratory Bird Act of 1916 due to its rapid decline in the early 1900's. Due to a concerted management effort, however, the wood duck is now again abundant *15*.

 


HABITAT ASSOCIATIONS

Items in bold indicate applicable categories

General habitat:

Unknown Terrestrial Aquatic Riparian

USFS timber inventory forest size class:

Unknown Unstocked Seedling Sapling
Seedling/sapling Pole Mature Over mature

Land use and land cover:

Unknown   Urban Residential
Commercial
Industrial
Transportation, communication
Complex industrial/commercial
Mixed
Other
Agricultural Crop, pasture
Orchards, groves, nurseries
Feedlot
Other
Rangeland Herbaceous
Shrub and brush
Mixed
Forestland Deciduous
Evergreen
Mixed
Water Stream
Lake
Reservoir
Bay
Wetland Forest
Non-forest
Barren Salt flat
Beach
Sand
Rock
Mine
Transit
Mix

Forest cover types:

Cover typeStructural stageCanopy closureSeason
Sugar maple Mature
(9" dia. & 100 yrs. old)
41-70% All
Black ash-American elm-Red maple Mature
(9" dia. & 100 yrs. old)
41-70% All
White, black, and northern red oak Mature
(9" dia. & 100 yrs. old)
41-70% All
Beech-sugar maple Mature
(9" dia. & 100 yrs. old)
41-70% All
Pin oak-sweetgum Mature
(9" dia. & 100 yrs. old)
41-70% All
Bald cypress-tupelo Mature
(9" dia. & 100 yrs. old)
41-70% All
Black oak Mature
(9" dia. & 100 yrs. old)
41-70% All

Associated tree species:

  • Black ash
  • Basswood
  • Bald cypress
  • American elm
  • Sour gum
  • Sweet gum
  • Maple
  • Silver maple
  • Black oak
  • Blackjack oak
  • Bur oak
  • Red oak
  • White oak
  • Sycamore
  • Black willow

National wetland inventory classifications:

SystemSubsystemClassSubclassWater regime modifiersWater chemistry
Lacustrine Littoral Emergent vegetation Persistent Permanent nontidal Freshwater
Lacustrine Littoral Forest Dead trees Permanent nontidal Freshwater
Palustrine   Emergent vegetation Persistent Permanent nontidal Freshwater
Palustrine   Forest Broad-leaved deciduous Permanent nontidal Freshwater
Palustrine   Forest Dead trees Permanent nontidal Freshwater
Palustrine   Scrub/shrub Deciduous Permanent nontidal Freshwater
Riverine Lower perennial Forest Broad-leaved deciduous Permanent nontidal Freshwater

Comments on species-habitat associations:
Prefer areas of northern hardwoods within approximately 1/2 mi. of rivers or marshes *16,17,23*. The NWI gives the most accurate habitat characteristics. The SAF gives an idea of what trees are preferred but doesn't really show the need for rivers or marshes nearby. Tree species listed indicate trees which provide preferred cavities for wood duck nests *17*.

Important plant and animal association: Important animal associations: racoon - primary predator on wood duck eggs *17,18,19,20,22,23*. Fox squirrels *17,18,23*, and snakes *18,23* are also significant egg predators. Important plant associations: buttonbush, smartweed, and similar brush type emergent aquatic plants *16,18,19,22,23,24*. Predation on wood duck eggs and incubating hens by raccoons has been a significant limiting factor for wood duck populations. Brooding hens require cover and water. Herbaceous emergents and trees over hanging the water are particularly important*18,23*. Have similar requirements for fall*16*.

High value habitats

HabitatStructural stageSeason
White, black, and northern red oak Mature
(9' dia. & 100 yrs. old)
Spring
Bald cypress-tupelo Mature
(9' dia. & 100 yrs. old)
Spring
Wet-mesic upland forest Mature
(9' dia. & 100 yrs. old)
Spring
Wet-mesic upland forest Mature
(9' dia. & 100 yrs. old)
Fall
Wet-mesic floodplain forest Mature
(9' dia. & 100 yrs. old)
Spring/summer
Wet-mesic floodplain forest Mature
(9' dia. & 100 yrs. old)
Fall
Marsh Shrub-seedling
(trees 1" dia.)
All
Streams Shrub-seedling
(trees 1" dia.)
Summer

Species-habitat interrelations: SAF forest cover type (oak-hickory) class size (mature) season (spring) function (breeding/nesting) value (high) *17,18,21*; Ill. land & water classif. (marsh) season (spring/summer/fall) function (breeding/feeding) value (high) *16,17,18*. Prefer areas of mature northern hardwoods within approximately 1/2 mi. of rivers or marshes. Need mature trees with cavities for nesting and marsh or floodplain areas with emergent vegetation (ex. buttonbush) for brood cover and feeding *16,17,18,23*.

 


GUILDS

Feed-guilding:

HabitatStructural stageSeasonFeed-guilds
Wet-mesic floodplain forest Mature
(9' dia. & 100 yrs. old)
Fall Water bottom-unconsolidated, organic detritus
Water bottom-aquatic bed, organic detritus
Water bottom-aquatic bed, rooted vascular plants
Water bottom-aquatic bed, items other than detritus, plankton, diatoms, algae, or vascular plants
Terrestrial surface-flowers and fruits of grass/grasslike vegetation
Terrestrial surface-leaves, twigs, flowers, fruits, seeds of deciduous trees
Tree canopy- flowers, fruits, seeds of deciduous trees
Wet-mesic floodplain forest Mature
(9' dia. & 100 yrs. old)
Spring/summer Water bottom-unconsolidated, organic detritus
Water bottom-aquatic bed, organic detritus
Water bottom-aquatic bed, rooted vascular plants
Water bottom-aquatic bed, items other than detritus, plankton, diatoms, algae, or vascular plants
Terrestrial surface-flowers and fruits of grass/grasslike vegetation
Terrestrial surface-leaves, twigs, flowers, fruits, seeds of deciduous trees
Tree canopy- flowers, fruits, seeds of deciduous trees
Marsh Shrub-seedling
(trees 1" dia.)
All Water bottom-unconsolidated, organic detritus
Water bottom-aquatic bed, organic detritus
Water bottom-aquatic bed, rooted vascular plants
Water bottom-aquatic bed, items other than detritus, plankton, diatoms, algae, or vascular plants
Water bottom-aquatic bed, zooplankton
Water bottom-aquatic bed, arthropods
Water column- zooplankton
Water column- arthropods
Water surface- zooplankton
Water surface- arthropods

Comments on feed-guilding:
During the breeding season and egg laying, females eat primarily insects and some vegetative matter. Males during this period eat predominantly plants and some insects. During the fall, males and females eat primarily vegetative matter *30*. Preferred plant food includes acorns, seeds of bald cypress, hickories, buttonbush, arrow arum, bur reed et al. *17*. Also utilize waste corn from harvested fields *17,31*. Insects commonly consumed include Coleoptera and Diptera *30*.

Breed-guilding:

HabitatStructural stageSeasonBreed-Guilds
Wet-mesic floodplain forest Mature
(9" dia. & 100 yrs. old)
Spring Tree bole, broad-leaved deciduous cavity user
Artificial structure (e.g. telephone and power poles, chimney, antenna)

Comments on breed-guilding:
Breed in floodplain river bottom areas. Are cavity nesters *17,37*. Utilize tree cavities and nesting boxes. Drakes remain with hen after eggs are layed, usually until eggs are hatched *17,35*. Nest dumping is common among hens that use nest boxes but this may be beneficial to wood duck reproduction *34*. Female often returns each year to same nesting area *17,34,36*.

 


FOOD-HABITS

Trophic level is OMNIVORE

Food itemLife stage/plant part
Taxodium (bald cypress) Fruit/seeds
Juglandaceae (walnut, hickory) Fruit/seeds
Betulaceae (birch) Fruit/seeds
Betulaceae (birch) Unknown
Fagaceae (beech, oak) Fruit/seeds
Moraceae (mulberry) Fruit/seeds
Hamamelidaceae (witch hazel) Fruit/seeds
Rosaceae (rose, cherry, plum, apple) Fruit/seeds
Cornaceae (dogwood) Fruit/seeds
Oleaceae (olive) Fruit/seeds
Polygonaceae (buckwheat, rhubarb) Fruit/seeds
Ranunculaceae (buttercup, marigold) Leaves/needles
Vitaceae (grape, creeper) Fruit/seeds
Rubiaceae Fruit/seeds
Hydrocharitaceae (tape grass, water weed) Fruit/seeds
Pontederiaceae (pickerelweed) Leaves/needles
Pontederiaceae (pickerelweed) Fruit/seeds
Poaceae (grass): corn Fruit/seeds
Poaceae (grass): rice Fruit/seeds
Poaceae (grass): broom corn, sorghum Fruit/seeds
Sparaganiaceae (bur-reed) Tubers
Sparaganiaceae (bur-reed) Fruit/seeds
Sparaganiaceae (bur-reed) Unknown
Zosteraceae (pondweed) Tubers
Zosteraceae (pondweed) Leaves/needles
Zosteraceae (pondweed) Fruit/seeds
Alismataceae (arrowhead) Fruit/seeds
Cyperaceae (bulrush, sedge) Leaves/needles
Cyperaceae (bulrush, sedge) Fruit/seeds
Cyperaceae (bulrush, sedge) Unknown
Lemnaceae (duckweed) Leaves/needles
Lemnaceae (duckweed) Fruit/seeds
Annelida (segmented worms) Unknown
Arthropoda Egg/fetus
Arachnida (spiders, ticks, scorpions, daddy longlegs) Unknown
Crustaceans Unknown
Insecta Unknown
Ephemeroptera (mayflies) Nymph
Odonata (dragonflies, damselflies) Nymph
Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches) Unknown
Plecoptera (stoneflies) Nymph
Hemiptera Unknown
Homoptera (cicadas, aphids) Unknown
Neuroptera (dobsonflies) Unknown
Coleoptera (beetles) Egg/fetus
Coleoptera (beetles) Larva
Coleoptera (beetles) Adult
Coleoptera (beetles) Unknown
Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths) Larva
Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths) Pupa
Diptera (flies, midges, mosquitoes) Larva
Diptera (flies, midges, mosquitoes) Pupa
Diptera (flies, midges, mosquitoes) Adult
Hymenoptera (ants, wasps, bees) Unknown
Osteichthyes (bony fishes) Juvenile
Important:
Taxodium (bald cypress) Fruit/seeds
Juglandaceae (walnut, hickory) Fruit/seeds
Fagaceae (beech, oak) Fruit/seeds
Hamamelidaceae (witch hazel) Fruit/seeds
Poaceae (grass): corn Fruit/seeds
Poaceae (grass): broom corn, sorghum Fruit/seeds
Sparaganiaceae (bur-reed) Fruit/seeds
Cyperaceae (bulrush, sedge) Fruit/seeds
Coleoptera (beetles) Larva
Coleoptera (beetles) Adult
Diptera (flies, midges, mosquitoes) Larva
Diptera (flies, midges, mosquitoes) Adult
Juvenile:
Betulaceae (birch) Unknown
Rosaceae (rose, cherry, plum, apple) Fruit/seeds
Ranunculaceae (buttercup, marigold) Leaves/needles
Pontederiaceae (pickerelweed) Leaves/needles
Poaceae (grass): rice Fruit/seeds
Sparaganiaceae (bur-reed) Unknown
Zosteraceae (pondweed) Tubers
Zosteraceae (pondweed) Leaves/needles
Cyperaceae (bulrush, sedge) Leaves/needles
Cyperaceae (bulrush, sedge) Unknown
Lemnaceae (duckweed) Leaves/needles
Annelida (segmented worms) Unknown
Arthropoda Egg/fetus
Arachnida (spiders, ticks, scorpions, daddy longlegs) Unknown
Crustaceans Unknown
Insecta Unknown
Odonata (dragonflies, damselflies) Nymph
Hemiptera Unknown
Homoptera (cicadas, aphids) Unknown
Coleoptera (beetles) Unknown
Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths) Larva
Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths) Pupa
Diptera (flies, midges, mosquitoes) Larva
Diptera (flies, midges, mosquitoes) Pupa
Diptera (flies, midges, mosquitoes) Adult
Hymenoptera (ants, wasps, bees) Unknown
Osteichthyes (bony fishes) Juvenile
Adult:
Taxodium (bald cypress) Fruit/seeds
Juglandaceae (walnut, hickory) Fruit/seeds
Betulaceae (birch) Fruit/seeds
Betulaceae (birch) Unknown
Fagaceae (beech, oak) Fruit/seeds
Moraceae (mulberry) Fruit/seeds
Hamamelidaceae (witch hazel) Fruit/seeds
Rosaceae (rose, cherry, plum, apple) Fruit/seeds
Cornaceae (dogwood) Fruit/seeds
Oleaceae (olive) Fruit/seeds
Polygonaceae (buckwheat, rhubarb) Fruit/seeds
Ranunculaceae (buttercup, marigold) Leaves/needles
Vitaceae (grape, creeper) Fruit/seeds
Rubiaceae Fruit/seeds
Hydrocharitaceae (tape grass, water weed) Fruit/seeds
Pontederiaceae (pickerelweed) Leaves/needles
Pontederiaceae (pickerelweed) Fruit/seeds
Poaceae (grass): corn Fruit/seeds
Poaceae (grass): rice Fruit/seeds
Poaceae (grass): broom corn, sorghum Fruit/seeds
Sparaganiaceae (bur-reed) Tubers
Sparaganiaceae (bur-reed) Fruit/seeds
Sparaganiaceae (bur-reed) Unknown
Zosteraceae (pondweed) Tubers
Zosteraceae (pondweed) Leaves/needles
Zosteraceae (pondweed) Fruit/seeds
Alismataceae (arrowhead) Fruit/seeds
Cyperaceae (bulrush, sedge) Leaves/needles
Cyperaceae (bulrush, sedge) Fruit/seeds
Cyperaceae (bulrush, sedge) Unknown
Lemnaceae (duckweed) Leaves/needles
Lemnaceae (duckweed) Fruit/seeds
Annelida (segmented worms) Unknown
Arthropoda Egg/fetus
Arachnida (spiders, ticks, scorpions, daddy longlegs) Unknown
Crustaceans Unknown
Insecta Unknown
Ephemeroptera (mayflies) Nymph
Odonata (dragonflies, damselflies) Nymph
Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches) Unknown
Plecoptera (stoneflies) Nymph
Hemiptera Unknown
Homoptera (cicadas, aphids) Unknown
Neuroptera (dobsonflies) Unknown
Coleoptera (beetles) Egg/fetus
Coleoptera (beetles) Larva
Coleoptera (beetles) Adult
Coleoptera (beetles) Unknown
Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths) Larva
Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths) Pupa
Diptera (flies, midges, mosquitoes) Larva
Diptera (flies, midges, mosquitoes) Pupa
Diptera (flies, midges, mosquitoes) Adult
Hymenoptera (ants, wasps, bees) Unknown
Osteichthyes (bony fishes) Juvenile

Comments on food habits: 
General: During the breeding season and egg laying, females eat primarily insects and some vegetative matter. This is an important energy source during reproductive drain of energy reserves *47*. Males eat predominantly plants and some insects. During the fall, males and females eat primarily vegetative matter *30*. Preferred plant food includes acorns, seeds of bald cypress, hickories, buttonbush, arrow arum, bur reed et al. *17*. Also utilize waste corn from harvested fields *17,31*. Insects commonly consumed include Coleoptera and Diptera *30*.
Juvenile: Juveniles' diet consists primarily of insects with a general shift toward plants as they get older *33*.
Adult: During the breeding season and egg laying, females eat primarily insects and some vegetative matter. This is an important energy source during reproductive drain of energy reserves *47*. Males eat predominantly plants and some insects. During the fall, males and females eat primarily vegetative matter *30*. Preferred plant food includes acorns, seeds of bald cypress, hickories, buttonbush, arrow arum, bur reed et al. *17*. Also utilize waste corn from harvested fields *17,31*. Insects commonly consumed include Coleoptera and Diptera *30*.


ENVIRONMENTAL ASSOCIATIONS

General:

  • Air temperature:see comments
  • Water temperature: warm- greater than 30 c
  • Aquatic habitat: shallows with emergent vegetation (littoral zone)
  • Water level: seasonally flooded
  • Flood plain: see comments
  • Water depth preference: 1-5 ft.
  • Aquatic habitats: stream weedbeds
  • Aquatic habitats: lake weedbeds
  • Aquatic habitats: swamp
  • Aquatic habitats: marsh
  • Leaf litter/ground debris/humus: see comments
  • Tree cavities: cavities in live trees
  • Tree cavities: cavities in dead/dying trees
  • Ecotones: woodland/water
  • Shrubs: see comments
  • Grasses: see comments
  • Hardwood forest: see comments
  • Canopy closure (%) of trees: see comments
  • Canopy closure (%) of nut-producing trees: unknown
  • Ground cover- shrub (%): see comments
  • Ground cover- forb (%): see comments
  • Ground cover- grass (%): see comments
  • Vegetation successional stage: stable forest
  • Vegetation successional stage: climax forest
  • Human associations: state and county parks
  • Human associations: wildlife refuges/sanctuaries

Limiting:

  • Aquatic habitat: shallows with emergent vegetation (littoral zone)
  • Flood plain: see comments
  • Ecotones: woodland/water
  • Shrubs: see comments
  • Grasses: see comments
  • Hardwood forest: see comments
  • Canopy closure (%) of trees: see comments
  • Ground cover- shrub (%): see comments
  • Ground cover- forb (%): see comments
  • Ground cover- grass (%): see comments

Egg

  • Air temperature:see comments
  • Leaf litter/ground debris/humus: see comments
  • Tree cavities: cavities in live trees
  • Tree cavities: cavities in dead/dying trees
  • Ecotones: woodland/water
  • Hardwood forest: see comments

Feeding juvenile:

  • Water temperature: warm- greater than 30 c
  • Aquatic habitat: shallows with emergent vegetation (littoral zone)
  • Water level: seasonally flooded
  • Flood plain: see comments
  • Water depth preference: 1-5 ft.
  • Aquatic habitats: stream weedbeds
  • Aquatic habitats: lake weedbeds
  • Aquatic habitats: swamp
  • Aquatic habitats: marsh
  • Ecotones: woodland/water
  • Shrubs: see comments
  • Grasses: see comments
  • Canopy closure (%) of nut-producing trees: unknown
  • Human associations: wildlife refuges/sanctuaries

Resting juvenile:

  • Aquatic habitat: shallows with emergent vegetation (littoral zone)
  • Flood plain: see comments
  • Aquatic habitats: stream weedbeds
  • Aquatic habitats: lake weedbeds
  • Aquatic habitats: swamp
  • Aquatic habitats: marsh
  • Tree cavities: cavities in live trees
  • Tree cavities: cavities in dead/dying trees
  • Ecotones: woodland/water
  • Shrubs: see comments
  • Grasses: see comments
  • Hardwood forest: see comments
  • Canopy closure (%) of trees: see comments
  • Ground cover- shrub (%): see comments
  • Ground cover- forb (%): see comments
  • Ground cover- grass (%): see comments
  • Vegetation successional stage: stable forest
  • Vegetation successional stage: climax forest
  • Human associations: state and county parks
  • Human associations: wildlife refuges/sanctuaries

Feeding adult:

  • Water temperature: warm- greater than 30 c
  • Aquatic habitat: shallows with emergent vegetation (littoral zone)
  • Water level: seasonally flooded
  • Flood plain: see comments
  • Water depth preference: 1-5 ft.
  • Aquatic habitats: stream weedbeds
  • Aquatic habitats: lake weedbeds
  • Aquatic habitats: swamp
  • Aquatic habitats: marsh
  • Ecotones: woodland/water
  • Shrubs: see comments
  • Grasses: see comments
  • Canopy closure (%) of nut-producing trees: unknown
  • Human associations: wildlife refuges/sanctuaries

Resting adult:

  • Aquatic habitat: shallows with emergent vegetation (littoral zone)
  • Flood plain: see comments
  • Aquatic habitats: stream weedbeds
  • Aquatic habitats: lake weedbeds
  • Aquatic habitats: swamp
  • Aquatic habitats: marsh
  • Tree cavities: cavities in live trees
  • Tree cavities: cavities in dead/dying trees
  • Ecotones: woodland/water
  • Shrubs: see comments
  • Grasses: see comments
  • Hardwood forest: see comments
  • Canopy closure (%) of trees: see comments
  • Ground cover- shrub (%): see comments
  • Ground cover- forb (%): see comments
  • Ground cover- grass (%): see comments
  • Vegetation successional stage: stable forest
  • Vegetation successional stage: climax forest
  • Human associations: state and county parks
  • Human associations: wildlife refuges/sanctuaries

Breeding adult:

  • Flood plain: see comments
  • Aquatic habitats: swamp
  • Aquatic habitats: marsh
  • Tree cavities: cavities in live trees
  • Tree cavities: cavities in dead/dying trees
  • Ecotones: woodland/water

Comments on environmental associations:
General: Water temperature requirement: open water during winter; floodplains provide cover (trees, shrubs), nesting sites, and water for nesting pairs *18*, also good for feeding ducks in the fall *16*; the most beneficial shrub is buttonbush *18,22,23,24*; beneficial forbs include: smartweed, spatterdock, lotus, arrowhead, bulrush, cattails, etc. *16,18,22,24*; trees common to wood duck areas include: oaks (black, red, white, et al.), hickories (bitternut et al.), red maple, American elm, basswood, bald cypress, tupelo *16,17,18,20,21, 22*; the size of stand of trees needs to be approximately one nesting pair/20 acres of natural breeding habitat or 2 pairs/acre when nest boxes are used *18*; the D.B.H. for suitable cavity trees is approximately 16" or less *18,21*, the optimum height for cavity is 20-50' but greater than 6' is acceptable *17,18,20,21*, tree cavities are used for nesting.
Egg: Eggs are laid in April and need to be incubated. Nests are in tree cavities of live or dead trees and nesting boxes. Tree species important in producing desirable cavities in floodplain forests are: bald cypress, sycamore, silver maple, black ash, sour gum, and black willow. In upland areas: black, red, white, blackjack, and bur oaks and basswood. Trees in both areas are American elm, sweet gum, and red maple *17,37*. Preferred cavity dimensions are: entrance 10-19 sq. in.; cavity volume, 500-2,999 cu. in.; and base area 40-49 sq. in. Cavities 30 feet or more above the ground are preferred to lower ones *17,21*. Nests consist of leaf litter made into a saucerlike depression *17*. Eggs are covered with litter and down from female *17, 23,38*. When nesting boxes are used eggs are covered with the sawdust and wood shavings provided *17,39*. Nesting box design can reduce predation *23*.
Feeding juvenile: Feed on insects and seeds and vegetative parts of aquatic plants (ex. bulrush, sedge, pondweeds). Need areas with good cover provided by overhanging vegetation and emergent herbaceous vegetation such as buttonbush, willows and lotus for food and protection. Fallen trees also make good cover. Optimum habitat should have 75% cover and 25% open water with a minimum of 33% cover to 67% open water. Because of the need for cover high shoreline/acre of water is important *18*.
Resting juvenile: Prefer areas of dense shrub cover such as buttonbush or fallen trees *18,39,40*.Also good are swamp rose, alder, spadderdock, lotus, and bulrushes *40*. Important to have loafing sites at the edge of cover surrounded by water for broods to sun and preen themselves *18*.
Feeding adult: Feed in shallow water in marsh areas and flooded bottomland *17*.
Resting adult: Roost in areas of buttonbush and other shrubs interspersed with stumps, fallen trees, and saplings *16,41*.
Breeding adult: Select mates in aquatic habitats from late fall through winter. Mate in spring and search for nest within 1/2 mile of suitable water *23*. Use either tree cavities or nesting boxes. Prefer tree cavities 30' or more above the ground with dimensions of: entrance 10-19", base 40-49 sq. in., and volume 500-2,999 cu. in. *17*. Approximate dbh 17" *41*. Tree species important in producing desirable cavities in flood plain forest are: bald cypress, sycamore, silver maple, black ash, sour gum, and black willow. In upland areas: black, red, white, blackjack, and bur oaks, and basswood. Trees in both areas: American elm, sweet gum, and red maple *17,37*.


LIFE HISTORY

Origin: Native *01*.

Physical description: Adult male - throat and foreneck pure white, sending off laterally 2 bars, remainder of head metallic green, violet, and purple with 2 white stripes leading to a long slicked back crest, chest rich purplish chestnut, front marked with white deltoid white spots, adbomen pure white with white and black trans- verse bar on sides, flanks buff, back bronze green, metallic maroon purple and blue, speculum purplish blue tipped with white and black; adult female - areas around bill, throat and ring around eye are white, remainder of head gray with crown and crest metallic green, abdomen white, breast and sides brown with white tips, speculum purplish blue tipped with white, back gray-brown *01,17,32*.

Reproduction: Breeding season- select mate October-February, breed- March-May *17*; incubation 28-37 days *17,35,39,41*; 5-6 young on the wing/year *43*; 1 brood/year though some cases of 2/year, male and female sexually mature at 1 year, clutch size - average 12 eggs, in dump nests 21 eggs *17*; renesting - will renest if eggs are destroyed *17,23*; dump nesting - cause uncertain, usually will go on to establish her own nest, female will incubate eggs other than her own *34*.

Behavior: Territoriality- drake keeps other drakes away from spouse prior to nesting, home range - no stable boundaries, nest is home base. Migrate in october to southern Illinois and south to the Gulf of Mexico *17*; forage in flooded timber or swamp and occasionally open water *17,30*; feed by pecking on surface or surface dabbling *30*; parental care of young - ducklings jump out of cavity at mother's cue female cares for young for 5-6 weeks at which point care is greatly reduced *17,43*; female will accept younger displaced juveniles into brood, brood bonds begin to dissolve after 5 weeks *41*; development of young - class I until 2-3 weeks of age when juvenile tail feathers appear, class II downy plumage is replaced by feathers - until 6 weeks class III about 8-10 weeks when they can fly *17,43*; basking sites - stumps, fallen trees, small islands; all near cover *18*; homing- females often return to same nesting area *20,36,41*.

Limiting factors: Predation on eggs by raccoons, snakes, squirrels, et al. *20,23* Loss of river bottomland habitat *15,17,23,42*; hunting season and quotas *15,42,45*; suitable nesting sites *15,23,24,38*.

Population parameters: Relative trend - stable numbers, perhaps a slight increase *08,17,42*; mortality rates - adult male 45.0%, Adult female 49.8%, Immature male 57.1%, Immature female 55.5%, % Due to hunting 44-58% for adults, 51-59% for immature *42*; sex ratio for juveniles 1:1, adults males:female - 1.0:0.76.

 


MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

Beneficial:

  • Preserving sensitive species habitat
  • Providing overstory shade
  • Controlling water levels
  • Developing/maintaining submersed brush, timber, debris
  • Maintaining streams
  • Creating pool/riffle habitat to improve habitat diversity
  • Preserving pool/riffle habitats
  • Developing/maintaining lakes and ponds
  • Creating/maintaining islands within permanent impoundments
  • Developing/maintaining wetlands
  • Creating/maintaining wetlands from non-wetlands
  • Protecting existing wetlands
  • Burning of wetlands to maintain successional stages
  • Restoration of wetlands (return flooded or drained areas to previous wetland conditions)
  • Developing/maintaining riparian habitat
  • Developing/maintaining streamside vegetation to prevent erosion and provide riparian habitat
  • Revegetating streambanks using grass-forb-sedge-tree mixtures
  • Retaining crop residue (over winter)
  • Seeding aquatic plants
  • Seed tree method of silviculture- preparation cut
  • Seed tree method of silviculture- seed cut
  • Seed tree method of silviculture- removal cut
  • Reforestation
  • Deferring for special management (e.g. for cavities and snags) in forest areas
  • Developing and maintaining brush or slash piles in forests
  • Leaving dead or downed woody materials in forests
  • Developing/maintaining woodlots
  • Periodic thinning of mast producing trees to maintain mast production
  • Regulating harvest of animal being described
  • Regulating hunting
  • Providing protection from predators
  • Providing food and cover for species under consideration
  • Constructing nesting structures for birds
  • Maintaining large trees for denning, nesting, or roosting
  • Providing artificial nesting and roosting sites (platforms, nest boxes, cones, baskets, burro
  • Maintaining undisturbed resting areas for migrating birds
  • Creating impoundments
  • Developing islands for waterfowl

Adverse:

  • Channelization
  • Controlling aquatic plants
  • Drawdown of ponds/lakes
  • Draining wetlands
  • Removing bank vegetation
  • Clearcutting forests
  • Thinning improvement cuts in forest areas
  • Salvage thinning- mortality cuts in forest areas
  • Salvage thinning- sanitation cuts in forest areas
  • Pruning in forest areas
  • Forest protection- disease pest control

Existing:

  • Controlling water levels
  • Regulating harvest of animal being described
  • Regulating hunting
  • Providing protection from predators
  • Constructing nesting structures for birds
  • Providing artificial nesting and roosting sites (platforms, nest boxes, cones, baskets, burro
  • Creating impoundments

Comments on management practices:
Management of the wood duck in Illinois should be concerned with nesting, brooding, and fall habitat. Only a few wood ducks over- winter here *17*. Trees near rivers should be managed for cavities and nut production. To supplement cavities or in areas where there are no cavities, nesting houses should be placed on trees, stumps or posts over water or in wooded areas near water. Important to try to make boxes "predator proof" *17,23*. Flooded timber, fallen trees, buttonbush swamp, and other emergent aquatic plants provide good habitat for broods and for fall feeding *16,18,40*. Also important to regulate hunting bag limits and season to insure a healthy population *45*.


REFERENCES

0. SHERRI SANDBERG 607 E. PEABODY CHAMPAIGN 217-333-6846 ILLINOIS NATURAL HISTORY SURVEY

1. RIDGEWAY, R. 1913. THE ORNITHOLOGY OF ILLINOIS. DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. VOL. 2. NAT. HIST. SURV. ILLINOIS STATE LAB NAT. HIST. PANTAGRAPH PRINTING STATIONERY CO. BLOOMINGTON, ILLINOIS. 282 PP.

2. BOHLEN, H. D. 1978. AN ANNOTATED CHECK-LIST OF THE BIRDS OF ILLINOIS. ILLINOIS STATE MUS. POP. SCI. SER. 9:1-154.

3. STRUTHERS, K. 1978. THE I. A. S. 1977 CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT. ILLINOIS AUDUBON BULL. 184:26-34.

4. STRUTHERS, K. 1979. THE I. A. S. CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT. ILLINOIS AUDUBON BULL. 188:18-25.

5. STRUTHERS, K. 1980. THE I. A. S. 1979 CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT. ILLINOIS AUDUBON BULL. 192:12-20.

6. STROYLS, S. 1981. THE I.A.S. 1980 CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT. ILLINOIS AUDUBON BULL. 196:27-36.

7. STROYLS, S. 1982. THE 1981 I. A. S. CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT. ILLINOIS AUDUBON BULL. 200:15-26.

8. THORNBURG, D. AND W. ALLEN. 1979. WOOD DUCK PRODUCTION ALONG ILLINOIS STREAMS. ILLINOIS DEPT. CONSERV. DIV. WILDL. RES. MIGRATORY BIRD SECT. PER. REPT. #27. 6 PP.

10. KLEEN, V. M. 1979/1980. FIELD NOTES 1979 BREEDING SEASON. ILLINOIS AUDUBON BULL. 191:25-34.

11. KLEEN, V. M. 1980/1981. FIELD NOTES THE BREEDING SEASON. ILLINOIS AUDUBON BULL. 195:34-47.

12. KLEEN, V. M. 1981/1982. FIELD NOTES BREEDING SEASON. ILLINOIS AUDUBON BULL. 199:21-39.

13. VON LINNE, C. 1758. ANAS SPONSA. SYSTEMA NATURAE. ED. 10. P. 128.

14. PETER, J. L. 1931. CHECK-LIST OF BIRDS OF THE WORLD. VOL. 1. HARVARD UNIV. PRESS. CAMBRIDGE. 345 PP.

15. BELLROSE, F. C. 1976. THE COMEBACK OF THE WOOD DUCK. WILDL. SOC. BULL. 4(3):107-110.

16. PARR, D. E., M. D. SCOTT, AND D. D. KENNEDY. 1979. AUTUMN MOVEMENTS AND HABITAT USE BY WOOD DUCKS IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS. J. WILDL. MANAGE. 43(1):102-108.

17. BELLROSE, F. C. 1976. DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS OF NORTH AMERICA. STACKPOLE BOOKS. HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA. 543 PP.

18. MCGILVREY, F. B. 1968. A GUIDE TO WOOD DUCK PRODUCTION HABITAT REQUIREMENTS. U. S. BUR. SPORT FISH. WILDL. RES. PUBL. 60. WASHINGTON D. C. 32 PP.

19. KLEIN, H. G. 1955. WOOD DUCK PRODUCTION AND USE OF NEST BOXES ON SOME SMALL MARSHES IN NEW YORK. NEW YORK FISH GAME J. 2(1):68-83.

20. BELLROSE, F. C., K. L. JOHNSON, T. U. MEYERS. 1964. RELATIVE VALUE OF NATURAL CAVITIES AND NESTING HOUSES FOR WOOD DUCKS. J. WILDL. MANAGE. 28(4):661-676.

21. GILMER, D. S., I. J. BALL, L. M. COWARDIN, J. E. MATHISEN, AND J. H. REICHMANN. 1978. NATURAL CAVITIES USED BY WOOD DUCKS IN NORTH-CENTRAL MINNESOTA. J. WILDL. MANAGE. 42(2):288-298.

22. DECKER, E. 1959. A FOUR YEAR STUDY OF WOOD DUCKS ON A PENNSYLVANIA MARSH. J. WILDL. MANAGE. 23(3)310-315.

23. BELLROSE, F. C. 1955. HOUSING FOR WOOD DUCKS. ILLINOIS NAT. HIST. SURV. CIRC. #45. 48 PP.

24. HAWKINS, A. S. AND F. C. BELLROSE. 1941. WOOD DUCK HABITAT MANAGEMENT IN ILLINOIS. TRANS. N. AMER. WILDL. CONF. 5:392-395.

25. HALL, D. L. 1965. FOOD UTILIZATION BY WATERFOWL IN GREEN TIMBER RESERVES AT NOXUBEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE. PROC. S. E. ASSOC. GAME FISH COMM. 16:184-199.

26. KORTRIGHT, F. H. 1942. THE DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS OF NORTH AMERICA. AMER. WILDL. INSTIT. WASHINGTON D. C. 436 PP.

27. COULTER, M. W. 1955. SPRING FOOD HABITS OF SURFACE-FEEDING DUCKS IN MAINE. J. WILDL. MANAGE. 19(2):263-267.

28. COULTER, M. W. 1957. FOOD OF WOOD DUCKS IN MAINE. J. WILDL. MANAGE. 21(2):235-236.

29. MCGILVREY, F. B. 1966. FALL FOOD HABITS OF WOOD DUCKS FROM LAKE MARION, SOUTH CAROLINA. J. WILDL. MANAGE. 30(1):193-195.

30. DROBNEY, R. D. AND L. H. FREDRICKSON. 1979. FOOD SELECTION BY WOOD DUCKS IN RELATION TO BREEDING STATUS. J. WILDL. MANAGE. 43(1):109-120.

31. ANDERSON, H.G. 1959. FOOD HABITS OF MIGRATORY DUCKS IN ILLINOIS. ILLINOIS NAT. HIST. SURV. BULL. 27(4):289-344.

32. ROBBINS, C. S., B. BRUUN, AND H. S. ZIM. 1966. BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA. A GUIDE TO FIELD IDENTIFICATION. WESTERN PUBL. CO. RACINE, WISCONSIN. 340 PP.

33. HOCUTT, G. E. AND R. W. DIMMICK. 1971. SUMMER FOOD HABITS OF JUVENILE WOOD DUCKS IN EAST TENNESSEE. J. WILDL. MANAGE. 35(2):286-292.

34. HEUSMANN, H. W., R. W. BELLVILLE, AND R. G. BURRELL. 1980. FURTHER OBSERVATIONS ON DUMP NESTING BY WOOD DUCKS. J. WILDL. MANAGE. 44(4):908-915

35. LEOPOLD, F. 1951. A STUDY OF NESTING WOOD DUCKS IN IOWA. CONDOR 53(5):209-220.

36. HESTER, F. E. 1965. SURVIVAL, RENESTING, AND RETURN OF ADULT WOOD DUCKS TO PREVIOUSLY USED NEST BOXES. PROC. S.E. ASSOC. GAME FISH COMM. 16:67-70.

37. GIGSTEAD, G. 1938. WOOD DUCKS IN THE ILLINOIS RIVER BOTTOMS. TRANS. N. AMER. WILDL. CONF. 3:603-610.

38. SCHREINER, K. M. AND G. L. HENDRICKSON. 1951. WOOD DUCK PRODUCTION AIDED BY NESTING BOXES, LAKE ODESSA, IOWA IN 1950. IOWA BIRD LIFE 21(1):6-10.

39. DREIS, R. E. AND G. O. HENDRICKSON. 1952. WOOD DUCK PRODUCTION FROM NEST-BOXES AND NATURAL CAVITIES ON THE LAKE ODESSA AREA, IOWA

40. WEBSTER, C. G. AND F. B. MCGILVREY. 1966. PROVIDING BROOD HABITAT FOR WOOD DUCKS. PP. 70-75 IN WOOD DUCK MANAGEMENT AND RESEARCH: A SYMPOSIUM. WILDL. MANAGE. INSTIT. WASHINGTON D.C. 212 PP.

41. HARAMIS, G. M. 1975. WOOD DUCK (AIX SPONSA) ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT WITHIN THE GREEN-TIMBER IMPOUNDMENTS AT MONTEZUMA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE. M. S. THESIS. CORNELL UNIV. 153 PP.

42. BOWERS, E. F. 1977. POPULATION DYNAMICS AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE WOOD DUCK (AIX SPONSA) IN EASTERN NORTH AMERICA. PHD. DISSERTATION LOUISIANA STATE UNIV. BATON ROUGE. 273 PP.

43. MCGILVREY, F. G. 1969. SURVIVAL IN WOOD DUCK BROODS. J. WILDL. MANAGE. 33(1):73-76.

44. HANKLA, D. J. AND V. E. CARTER. 1966. IMPACT OF FOREST MANAGEMENT AND OTHER HUMAN ACTIVITIES ON WOOD DUCK HABITAT IN THE SOUTHEAST. PP. 28-36 IN: WOOD DUCK MANAGEMENT AND RESEARCH: A SYMPOSIUM. WILDL. MANAGE. INSTIT. WASHINGTON D.C. 212 PP.

45. REEVES, H. M. 1966. INFLUENCE OF HUNTING REGULATIONS ON WOOD DUCK POPULATION LEVELS. PP. 163-178 IN: WOOD DUCK MANAGEMENT AND RESEARCH: A SYMPOSIUM. WILDL. MANAGE. INSTIT. WASHINGTON D. C. 212 PP.

46. MCGILVREY, F. B. 1972. INCREASING A WOOD DUCK NESTING POPULATION BY RELEASES OF PEN-REARED BIRDS. PROC. S. E. ASSOC. FISH GAME COMM. 25:202-206.

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49. ILLINOIS DEPT. OF CONSERV. 1980. CONSERVATION LAWS. CH. 61. WILDLIFE ART.II. PAR.2.2, REPRINTED FROM ILLINOIS REVISED STATUTES, 1979. WEST PUBL. CO. ST. PAUL, MN. 120 PP.

50. U.S. FISH WILDL. SERV. 1983. CODE FED. REG. TITLE 50. WILDL. AND FISHERIES. CH.1 PP.11-18. 50CFR10.1B. LIST OF MIGRATORY BIRDS. SPEC. PUBL. FED. REG. GEN. SERV. ADMIN. OCTOBER 1.

51. SOUSA, P.J. AND A.H. FARMER. 1983. HABITAT SUITABILITY INDEX MODELS: WOOD DUCK. U.S. DEPT. INT., FISH WILDL. SERV. FWS/OBS-82/10.43. 27 PP.

 


 

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