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Eurasian Wigeon

Silhouette DucksDucks
Eurasian WigeonMareca penelope
  • ORDER: Anseriformes
  • FAMILY: Anatidae

Basic Description

The elegant Eurasian Wigeon is a rare visitor to North America, typically found among flocks of its nearest relative, the American Wigeon. Males stand out by virtue of their gray bodies, bright rufous-brown heads, and buffy-cream forecrowns. Both species feed by dabbling in the water and dunking the head, tail up, to reach plant matter and other food underwater. On occasion, the two species of wigeons will hybridize, with male hybrids appearing as intermediate between the parent species.

More ID Info
image of range map for Eurasian Wigeon
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

To find a Eurasian Wigeon, try searching among flocks of migrating or wintering American Wigeons. Look for a male with gray sides and a reddish rather than gray-and-green head. Areas of shallow water with aquatic vegetation suit both wigeon species. As game birds they can be skittish, so it’s wise to remain in a car (which can serve as a blind) or use a spotting scope to study flocks. It can also help to study up on the female’s grayer back and browner head patterns as well.

Other Names

  • Silbón Europeo (Spanish)
  • Canard siffleur (French)
  • Cool Facts