American Wigeon Anas americana

amriecanwigeon

Identfication

The American Wigeon is a medium sized duck and is larger than a teal and measures between 42 -59 cm in length and a wingspan between 76-81cm. The American wigeon can be distinguished in silhuoete from other dabblers by thier short neck, rounded head and short beak.

The breeding male (drake) is a striking bird with a mask of green feathers around its eyes and a cream colored cap running from the crown of its head to its bill. This white patch gives the wigeon its other common name, baldpate (pate is another word for head). Their belly is also white.[6] In flight, drakes can be identified by the large white shoulder patch on each wing. These white patches flash as the birds bank and turn. In non-breeding (eclipse) plumage, the drake looks more like the female.

Behaviour

The American Wigeon is a bird of open wetlands, such as wet grassland or marshes with some taller vegetation, and usually feeds by dabbling for plant food or grazing, which it does very readily. AmericanwigeonbroodWhile on the water, wigeon often gather with feeding coots and divers, and are known to grab pieces of vegetation brought to the surface by diving water birds. For this reason, they are sometimes called "poacher" or "robber" ducks. Wigeon also commonly feed on dry land, eating waste grain in harvested fields and grazing on pasture grasses, winter wheat, clover, and lettuce. Having a largely vegetarian diet, most wigeon migrate in the fall well before northern marshes begin to freeze.

The American Wigeon is highly gregarious outside of the breeding season and will form large flocks.

Distribution

In the United Kingdom the American Wigeon are a rare vagrant since they are native to America. They are also kown to breed in in the U.K but these birds are normally part of collections in the U.K.