Wood Duck Diet: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Sara Clarke-Vivier

Sara is a recently graduated PhD in Education with interdisciplinary experience in K-12 education.

Do you want to share lunch with a wood duck? In this lesson, we will learn what is on the wood duck's menu, where they find their food, and why you might see them eating while swimming... upside-down!?

Where do Wood Ducks Eat?

You may have seen a brightly colored wood duck swimming in a pond near you. You might also have spotted its brightly colored bottom sticking up high into the air! What is this bird doing with its head underwater? Well, the wood duck is eating. Let's learn some more about what this waterfowl wants for dinner, and how it goes about getting its food.

Wood Ducks Are Omnivores

Though wood ducks eat a mostly vegetarian diet, they do also eat some other animals. This type of eating means that wood ducks are omnivores.

Wood ducks get some of their plant food from the water, and some of their plant food from the land. In the water they graze on vegetable matter, including aquatic plants like duckweed and water lily. On the shore, they eat berries like blackberries and wild cherries, as well as grasses like panic grass and millet. They also eat seeds, like acorns.

A Wood Duck Swims in Shallow Water
Wood Duck in Shallow Water

Like most other ducks, wood ducks also eat some of the small animals that live in their watery homes. They snack on insects like flies, beetles, and caterpillars, and may also eat snails, salamanders, and isopods that live near the water. Wood ducks may also eat small fish.

Wood ducks change their eating habits throughout their lives. Young wood ducks eat more insects and fish, while older wood ducks are more likely to eat plants.

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