Did you know: The Ducks that live in Tree Hollows 🎥
Updated: Nov 4, 2019
Ducks are normally found on water, so you might be curious as to why some ducks can be seen roosting in trees at a certain time of the year. The most common worldwide are the Wood Duck and the Hooded Merganser that are cavity nesters, seeking holes in trees or utilising large nesting boxes created by humans in which to lay their eggs.
Australian Wood Duck (flickr)
The Australian Wood Duck is found in grasslands, open woodlands, wetlands, flooded pastures and along the coast in inlets and bays. It is also common on farmland with dams, as well as around agricultural fields, sewage ponds and in urban parks. It will often be found around deeper lakes that may be unsuitable for other waterbirds' foraging, as it prefers to forage on land.
In fact the bird belongs to the anatidae family, which includes ducks, geese, swans and is defined as a dabbling duck.
Wood ducks pair up in late winter and begin breeding in early spring. The males attract females with their call and attractive, colorful breeding plumage. After the pair breed, they build a nest in the cavity of a tree. They prefer trees that hang over water or are close to a water source. Trees with cavities are becoming rarer and rarer with wetland loss, deforestation and competition from other species. The nest may have approximately 15 eggs lined with feathers from the female. Sometimes there will be as few as six eggs in the nest and occasionally as many as 40. If a female cannot find a nest of her own, then she will lay her eggs inside another wood duck's nest.
After a few weeks, the eggs hatch. The ducklings are born with feathers and leave the nest quickly. The ducklings will not be raised in the nest, but on the water instead. This means very young ducklings must jump out of the high tree cavities onto the ground to make their way to water. Wood ducks typically do not live past the age of four in the wild. They have a high mortality rate, especially when young. Wood ducks in captivity have the potential to live well into their teens. Wood ducks are not listed as threatened or endangered.
Watch this interesting clip 🎥: Tiny Ducklings Leap from Tree | National Geographic (2:11)
Hearing the call of the “ducks in the tree” from our office in Australia recently (it is early spring here) we decided to dedicate a blog to the wood duck so common in our backyard. We hope, dear reader, you enjoyed this educational story.
The National Wildlife Federation (viewed 25.09.2018)
Wikipedia 2018 (viewed 25.09.2018)
Wikipedia 2017 (viewed 25.09.2018)