Wigeon

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Eurasian Wigeon
Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
Missing image
Eurasian.wigeon.2.arp.750pix.jpg
Eurasian Wigeon


Male wigeon
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Anseriformes
Family:Anatidae
Subfamily:Anas
Species:A penelope
Binomial name
Anas penelope
Linnaeus, 1758

The Wigeon or Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope) is a common and widespread duck which breeds in the northernmost areas of Europe and Asia. It is the Old World counterpart of the North American American Wigeon.

This dabbling duck is 42-50 cm long with a 71-80 cm wingspan. It is strongly migratory and winters further south than its breeding range. It highly gregarious outside of the breeding season and will form large flocks.

The breeding male has grey flanks and back, with a black rear end and a brilliant white speculum, obvious in flight or at rest. It has a pink breast, white belly, and a chestnut head with a yellowish crown stripe. In non-breeding (eclipse) plumage, the drake looks more like the female.

The female is light brown, with plumage much like a female Mallard. It can be distinguished from most other ducks, apart from American Wigeon, on shape. However, that species has a paler head and white axillaries on its underwing.

The 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. It nests on the ground, near water and under cover.

This is a noisy species. The male has a clear whistle, whereas the female has a low growl.

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