WOOD DUCK Aix sponsa

The genus Aix contains two species which are completely different in terms of plumage from all others. Both are familiar to most as they are commonly kept in collections due to their flamboyant beauty. They are both hole nesters, Wood Duck being commonly found over much of North America (absent from the central section), a small area of Canada near the border, and Cuba. One of the most numerous American ducks following an impressive recovery from low numbers, birds move south in winter and are found in Mexico in small numbers, as well as other West Indian islands. Whilst there are no really established feral populations numerous escapes occur in Europe, true vagrancy is suspected (notably records in Cornwall and on The Scillies in autumn), but can never be proved without a ringed recovery. An added complication is that they are often wary, but easily seem to become habituated. These were taken in California, but I also have one standing on the back of a park bench, which was a wild bird.

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