How did such a regal-looking bird get such a plain name?

I was lucky enough to add yet another bird to my Life List this week. A fellow birder told me on Sunday that she had seen a Wood Duck at a local preserve, so I rushed over that evening, hoping to get a glimpse of this remarkably colorful bird. I couldn’t believe my luck when someone said she had just spotted the male Wood Duck, and pointed him out to me.IMG_2598The father Wood Duck certainly stood out in his brilliant plumage. He was accompanied by his lovely ‘wife’ and their brood. I was disappointed not to get sharper photos, but they were rather far away. What a delight it was to see this regal pair glide past with their large family!IMG_2788Last evening I went searching for them again at the same spot, but with no success. I later realized that the photo above, which I’d snapped when I first arrived at the preserve (well before I’d gotten to the ‘right spot’), was actually the Wood Duck family! They had been swimming off in the distance in the shadows, on a completely different pond, and I hadn’t even realized it was them when I took the photo!  

Sometimes you don’t know what you have till you get home 😉

10 thoughts on “How did such a regal-looking bird get such a plain name?

  1. You Wood Duck is far more beautiful than our Australian Wood Duck, and likewise the male and female plumage is different. It is a beautiful example of God’s artistry and His flair for colour. Yes, wood duck does not do justice to the splendor of the birds appearance!

    • FYI, Donna – The Word Duck is so named because it nests in tree cavities. But I just discovered this very cool info, too:
      “The wood duck’s beauty is reflected in its scientific name, Aix sponsa. From the greek word “aiks” for water bird and latin word “sponsa” for betrothed, the name refers to plumage so striking that the wood duck looks like it is dressed for a wedding.” (U.S.Fish & Wildlife Service)

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