A Wood Duck would duck

There’s a Wood Duck in the park at Villa Doria Pamphilj. I’ve not seen one before. I won’t forget seeing one:

Wood Duck at Villa Pamphilj - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Aren’t they stunning? Whenever I’ve published my photographs of Mandarin Ducks and dared to say they must be the most beautiful duck in the world (hoping people will recognise my adoption of Prince lyrics), I’ve been challenged. Other people seem to think the Wood Duck is the most beautiful.

You can decide:

Wood Duck at Villa Pamphilj - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There are just two males in the park here in Rome. They are testament to the critical eye of female Wood Ducks. The ability to produce the complex chemistry of these iridescent feathers keeping well and eating enough high-quality food must be a very good guide to the ability to father ducklings which will be able to find enough high-quality food. It’s a self-reinforcing selection which has produced one of the wonders of the natural world:

Wood Duck at Villa Pamphilj - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The head shape is reminiscent of a Star Wars villain. Duck Vader anyone?

Wood Duck at Villa Pamphilj - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

He’s winking:

Wood Duck at Villa Pamphilj - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Wood Ducks; an oil-on-water rainbow.

Wood Duck at Villa Pamphilj - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

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