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Eurasian Wigeon

Mareca (Anas) penelope

Dabbling Ducks Family

Waterfowl Identification

 
Male Eurasian Wigeon
male
Female Eurasian Wigeon
female
Similar Waterfowl:
Female American Wigeon
Description:
Eurasian wigeons can often be found in the company of American wigeons. The male's bright russet-red head, topped with a creme stripe, and its gray back and sides distinguish it from its American cousin. Females of the two species are so similar that separation in the field is unreliable. However, adult female Eurasian wigeons have two color phases: gray and red. Females in reddish plumage have russet-brown heads, necks, chests, backs, sides, and flanks, with a much redder tinge than in female American wigeons. Eurasian wigeon males have a black speckled russet-red neck and head topped with a creme stripe. The breast is grayish-pink and the lower breast, belly, and sides of the rear body behind the flanks are white. The flanks are finely vermiculated and appear gray. In flight, a white shoulder patch and green speculum are displayed. The bill is blue-gray with a black tip and the legs and feet are blue-gray. Eurasian wigeon females have gray-brown to russet-brown heads, necks, chests, backs, sides and flanks. The bill is blue-gray with a black tip and the legs and feet are blue-gray.
Typical Size:
The male and female average 19 inches in length and weigh 1 1/2 pounds. They have a wingspan of 31 inches.
Habitat:
Eurasian wigeons are found in shallow water near fields and meadows.
Breeding:
Eurasian wigeons breed from Iceland, the British Isles, and Scandinavia east to eastern Siberia and Kamchatka, and south to northern Europe, central Russia, and northern China. There are no breeding records of Eurasian wigeons in North America. Females prefer to nest on the ground near water in areas of taiga and forest and lay an average of 7 to 10 eggs.
Diet:
Eurasian wigeons are aquatic grazers and feed primarily on pondweeds, eelgrass, other aquatic plants, and grass.
Migration:
The majority of Eurasian wigeons winter from Iceland, the British Isles, northern Europe, southern Russia, and Japan south to the eastern Atlantic islands, Africa, Arabia, India, the Malay Peninsula, southern China, Formosa, and the Philippines. In North America, the Eurasian wigeon is an occasional visitor to the Pacific coast from southeastern Alaska to northern Baja California and the Atlantic-Gulf coast from Labrador and Newfoundland south to Florida and west to southern Texas.
Flyway Patterns:
The Eurasian wigeon are occasionally found in the Pacific flyway.
Flight Formation:
Small compact high flying flocks. Flight is swift, strong and erratic. Speeds reach 70 MPH.
Voice:
The male has a shrill WHEE-YOU and the female has a growling QUA-AWK.



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