Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wood Duck

This photo is a left-over from last spring. I found these Wood Ducks in a small pond at the River Bend Nature Center near Faribault, Minnesota. Despite the trio here, two males and one female, Wood Ducks are monogamous. Males, however, do not take care of the eggs or young. Some males will mate with a second female after his first brood is fledged.

The male in the background is apparently beginning what is called a “Display Shake.” The male spreads his crest, extends and lowers his head, and exposes his white belly. The male in the foreground does not seem to be contesting the other male’s courtship. Aggression between Wood Ducks is short-lasting, with intruders quickly giving up (Hepp and Bellrose 1995).

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