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Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Requirements and Limiting Factors


Habitat Component Habitat Requirements
Food - Young Insects, aquatic invertebrates, small fish, and other high-protein animal material.
  Aquatic plants such as algae, watermeal, watershield, sago pondweed, and duckweed.
Food - Adult Seeds of oaks, bald cypress, hickory, sweet gum, beech, button bush, arrow-arum, bur-reed, wild rice, and other mast-producing plants.
  Aquatic insects and other invertebrates.
  Aquatic plants and seeds
Nesting Cover Natural tree cavities or artificial nesting boxes in deciduous woodlands in close proximity to rivers, wetlands, and other suitable aquatic habitats used for brood rearing.
Brood-Rearing Cover Shallow water for foraging on invertebrates and aquatic plants that contain some protective cover from predators. A ratio of 50 to 75 percent cover to 25 to 50 percent open water is preferred.
Winter Cover Bottomland hardwood wetlands with an abundance of partially submerged downed timber, shrubs, and woody debris.
Water Water requirements are met where wetlands suitable as brood-rearing and wintering habitat exist.
Interspersion Prefer a complex of forested wetland habitats that include live forest, green-tree reservoirs, rivers, oxbows, riparian corridors, beaver ponds, shrub-scrub and robust emergent herbaceous wetlands.
Minimum Habitat Size At least 10 acres of wetland or other aquatic habitat should be available in a contiguous unit or in isolated parcels separated by no more than 100 feet of upland in close proximity to nesting habitat.

Limiting Factors

For planning purposes, inventory the site to determine the availability of each of the basic habitat components, based on the above narrative habitat requirement descriptions. Habitat components that are absent or rated low are limiting the value of the habitat for woodducks.

Inventory of Limiting Factors
Habitat Component Availability/Quality
  High Medium Low Absent
Food        
Nesting Cover        
Winter cover (may not be applicable if wood ducks do not winter in the area)        
Water        
Interspersion of habitat components        
Minimum habitat size        

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