With their special water-resistant plumage, ducks are made for water. But did you know that several species of duck actually require trees when it comes to breeding? Some ducks are cavity nesters. We've recently added one of these cute little cavity-nesting ducks to Birdorable. The Bufflehead is one of the smallest species of duck to live in North America. They're just about 14 inches long, and they use cavities excavated by Northern Flicker woodpeckers! They also use nestboxes, as in the photo below.
Besides the Bufflehead, some other ducks that nest in cavities or nest boxes are: Hooded Merganser; Black-bellied Whistling Duck; Wood Duck; Common Goldeneye; and Common Merganser.
1. Northern Shovelers use their uniquely-shaped bills to strain the water for crustaceans when feeding.
2. Northern Shovelers are fairly widespread, with populations living and breeding across parts of the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
3. There are three other species of shoveler in the world, all closely related to the Northern Shoveler: Cape Shoveler; Australasian Shoveler; and Red Shoveler.
4. Northern Shovelers have been known to hybridize with several other duck species, including Blue-winged Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, and Wood Duck.
5. The wings of Northern Shovelers make a rattling noise when the birds take off.
6. Northern Shovelers are somewhat territorial - at least more so that other dabbling ducks. Males will defend territory more fiercely during nesting season.
7. The Northern Shoveler is one of our cute Birdorable birds! The Northern Shoveler was added to Birdorable on December 7th, 2010.
For 18 days we're adding a new Birdorable bird every day as part of our Birdorable Bonanza 2010. Today's bird is the North American Wood Duck. Male Wood Ducks, like our new Birdorable, are beautifully plumaged. Iridescent green heads, brick-red breasts and sandy flanks are just part of the multicolored story.
Wood Ducks nest in trees, or nest boxes. They are considered perching ducks, and it is not uncommon to see them perched high up in trees.
Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) by musicarver
Tomorrow's bird likes to show off his red epaulets while calling. Can you guess what it is?
The Mallard is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable of all ducks. They are dabbling ducks who breed throughout the temperate and sub-tropical areas of North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, where they are invasive. The Birdorable Mallard is also one of the most 'familiar' of our cute birds - they appear in several different designs.
If you like our Birdorable Mallard you may also like our other ducks and geese.