In the past, deforestation and overhunting brought the Wood Duck to the verge of extinction, but protection measures, nest box schemes (they take readily to nest boxes), and a reduction in deforestation have improved their prospects considerably.
As one might expect from such a widely kept bird, Wood Ducks have escaped and bred in the wild in the UK, but the population is apparently not self sustaining. This is in contrast with the Mandarin, which has an estimated UK population of perhaps 7,000, mostly in southern England. The reason for the difference is not clear, but may be because the Mandarin fledges at around 8 weeks, whereas Wood Duck take nearer to 10. This makes them more vulnerable to predators and the vagaries of the British climate than their Asian relatives.
Next week – the Pochard