American Wood Duck (Aix Sponsa) is simply known as the Woodie for its fondeness for wooded areas. Aix is from the Greek meaning water bird, and Sponsa is derived from the Latin for a betrothed, a bride, or promised one. It is also known as Carolina Duck in Europe and locally as Bridal, Rainbow, Summer, Acorn and Swamp Duck or Squealer. Graced with gorgeous colors and a stunning pattern of astonishing complexity, the sumptuous drakes are perhaps the most exquisite and brightly colored of American waterfowl. Despite brilliant metallic plumage, the resplendent males are amazingly well camouflaged when resting on dappled water or under the shade of overhanging branches. The more somber females bear a striking resemblance to Mandarin Duck (Aix Galericulata) females, but the white patches surrounding their dark-brown eyes are broader and more conspicuous, and larger, flatter, dark-gray bill is tipped with a black, rather than whitish nail. Generally darker and glossier green-brown dorsally, American Wood Duck (Aix Sponsa) females appear bigger and longer, with a less peaked forehead and shorter legs. Courting American Wood Duck (Aix Sponsa) drakes elevate their long, full crests to twice the normal size while rapidly twisting the head from side to side to show off the colors and variegated patterns. They reacquire nuptial plumage in the fall. Drakes in spring remain in communication with their mates, but their low, soft, goldfinch-like calls are often inaudible. Alarmed females emit peculiar drawn-out, rising squeals, or a sharp “creek creek”. Loud female vocalizations are undoubtedly advantageous because of visual restrictions in their thickly wooded retreats. Flying with their head held high and bill angled down, they plummet down from considerable height and set down with a splash on very small pools. Small flocks fly at sunset from foraging sites to roots, and return to feedings grounds at sunrise. They depend on fruits, nuts and acorns. Nests can be more than a mile from water. They are generally in tree trunks or limb hollows of a variety of trees, including bald cypress, sycamore, maple, oak, apple or elm, particularly those in standing water. Females alone care for progeny during the two-month rearing period, but drakes remain with their mates until the eggs pip, and sometimes longer.