Carolina wood ducks, Hamilton

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Neil Fitzgerald
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Carolina wood ducks, Hamilton

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:18 pm

Over the past couple of weeks I've heard a number of reports of Carolina/North American wood ducks on the Waikato River in Hamilton. It seems they (half a dozen or so) have been there for at least 15 months. Obviously 'escapes', but I'm still keen to see them in the 'wild'. From what I can gather, they are mostly seen on the true left bank north of the Pukete Bridge. I walked a few km along there today with no luck. If anyone does spot them, I'd appreciate it if you could pass on details in this thread.
I found them a bit difficult to breed in captivity, but maybe they could get established. I don't know what risk (if any) they pose. Perhaps competition with grey teal?
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Re: Carolina wood ducks, Hamilton

Postby Clinton9 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:37 pm

Hi Neil,
Just leave these Carolina ducks (aix sponsa) alone, and let them get established as we had Grey ducks (anas supercilliosa supercilliosa) used to lives in woods with rivers, but they disappeared through hybridizing with mallard ducks (anas platyrhynchos platyrhychos).
Carolina ducks cannot cause competition with grey teals (anas gibberifrons), because of diffenent diets, the Carolina ducks eat more on land and eats oak nuts and nuts and insects & seeds and less on waterweeds, while grey teals eat more on waterweeds, with insects and seeds and feeding in water.
In New Zealand, Grey teals are wintertime-springtime nester, they nesting on about June-Dec while Carolina ducks are springtime breeder and breeding on Sept-January.
In Australia, Grey teals breed around whole year, the rains cause teals to start to breed and grey teals can rear 2-3 broods of ducklings. Carolina ducks may be a contorl in number of grey teals, help stop grey teals from increase the numbers too fast. But unlike Grey teals, Carolina ducks cannot increase their numbers so fast, despite they can rear 2 broods of ducklings a year. Carolina ducks will have difficltlies stay alive during winter and spring where their prefterred foods are not available, while grey teals eat waterweeds and able to stay alive.
New Zealand shelducks (tadorna variegata) use bigger nest holes and would easily throw both Carolina ducks and grey teals out. Male Carolina ducks are beautiful colourful birds.
They bit difficult to breed in captivity is properly due to NZ birdkeepers ketp them in small cages or just not give them bigger avaries or wrong diet of nothing but pellet or seeds, so these captivity ducks feel bored and not happy, so they refused to breed. I know a NZ man had fed seeds to a pair of rainbow lorikeets, and I had seen ducks were kept in small cages in Hamilton zoo and in people's homes in waikato area.
Clinton. :)
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David Riddell
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Re: Carolina wood ducks, Hamilton

Postby David Riddell » Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:26 am

Annette and I were heading north through Huntly on a very gloomy Friday afternoon last week when Annette caught a quick glimpse of two birds she was fairly sure were Carolina wood ducks - I was driving and didn't see them; we assumed they were someone's pets and didn't stop. This was in a temporary pond north of the town, before the start of the expressway, on the western side of the road. We looked for them as we drove past heading south yesterday, but saw nothing but mallards.
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Re: Carolina wood ducks, Hamilton

Postby David Riddell » Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:28 pm

We were passing through Huntly today so checked that pond again (just south of the cemetery). Nothing but a motley collection of mallards and domestics.
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Re: Carolina wood ducks, Hamilton

Postby SomesBirder » Fri Dec 25, 2015 1:50 pm

Some more recent news:

Does anyone have any info on acquiring breeding stock & rearing of these beautiful quackers in New Zealand????

I have heard rumours that they have been spotted in the wild in the vicinity of Ngaruawahia/Huntly area of the waikato????

They are in the BOP too, small numbers on the Wairoa River just north of Tauranga.

Source: ... cks-24329/

Anyone interested?
what in god's name is a folly tomo
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Re: Carolina wood ducks, Hamilton

Postby les » Sat Dec 26, 2015 10:48 am

there is a fellow near Hamilton who raises huge numbers of Carolinas and mandarins.(i have his contact details if anyone wanted them by pm)he has a few free flyers on his property I have been told.There was also a breeder at Tauranga who had free flyers but I believe he may have moved from there now.I also know where there is a free ranging Himalayan monal pheasant,but don`t ask how I know that!
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Re: Carolina wood ducks, Hamilton

Postby RussCannings » Sat Dec 26, 2015 12:53 pm

Hard to say what impact they would have on native species (IF they establish) but I would guess they it would be pretty minimal as they are not a species that breeds up into large numbers in any one location (limited by nest cavity opportunities).

Wild Carolina Wood Ducks are quite Shy and prefer to nest in quiet backwater oxbows or wooded ponds. These intro birds would likely be a lot bolder and probably wouldn't mind joining the bread line at Hamilton Lake etc.

Regarding their diet and potential for survival, the Waikato would cause no problem in the winter (as suggested above) as there's more than enough sustenance in this area to keep them going. For example, there is a wintering flock of around 25 Carolinas in my old Canadian uni town of Kelowna, British Columbia. All they need is a 2 by 10 metre hole in the ice (small Creek) and some exposed grass to nibble plus a few bird feeders to scrounge around under and they're good to go (sub-zero temps no problem. As long as there's a bit of water and vegetation/seeds). Mandarins are the same in China.

Superficially the willow-clad banks of the Waikato River between Hamilton and Huntly look primo for Wood Ducks so I wouldn't be surprised if they do well. Any population with such small numbers can easily be snuffed out though so time will tell. I won't be rushing over to look for them but I'll let you know if I run into any in the Cambridge/Hamilton area.

Russ C
Cambridge, NZ
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Re: Carolina wood ducks, Hamilton

Postby rukuhia » Sat Dec 26, 2015 1:59 pm

My neighbor over the back breeds them for sale along with Mandarin ducks. He releases the odd few but most are killed by hawks or botulism he said, consequently his clients are generally back for more after a few months. The prices ranges from $100 - $ 200 each!
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Re: Carolina wood ducks, Hamilton

Postby Mike Vincent » Sat Dec 26, 2015 3:00 pm

I worked with a guy in the 1980s early 1990s who did a lot of duck hunting near Hamilton and he talked about Carolina ducks. In short there were people trying to establish them as a game bird.
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Re: Carolina wood ducks, Hamilton

Postby Jake » Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:45 pm

Yup, it's was bought forward at a National Acclimatisation Society meeting by that region - I can't remember the full story but it's in Gamekeepers for the Nation (pub.1994). A friend of mine told me of a drake that had been shot in Southland many years ago during the season. The Aix species are known 'hawk magnets' but it probably doesn't help that if they're free-ranging in yards then they're almost certainly 'pinioned'

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