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Merlin Bird ID

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    American Wigeon

    Silhouette DucksDucks

    American Wigeon

    Mareca americana
    • ORDER: Anseriformes
    • FAMILY: Anatidae
    Basic Description

    Quiet lakes and wetlands come alive with the breezy whistle of the American Wigeon, a dabbling duck with pizzazz. Breeding males have a green eye patch and a conspicuous white crown, earning them the nickname "baldpate." Females are brushed in warm browns with a gray-brown head and a smudge around the eye. Noisy groups congregate during fall and winter, plucking plants with their short gooselike bill from wetlands and fields or nibbling plants from the water's surface. Despite being common their populations are declining.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for American WigeonRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    The best time to see American Wigeons in the Lower 48 is from August through April. During these months check wetlands, ponds, and nearby agricultural fields and listen for their unique nasal whistle, which is often the first clue that they are around. From a distance the male's gleaming white forehead and white rump sides are sure to grab your attention. American Wigeons flush easily if disturbed, so watch from a distance to get the best looks. During hunting season, they tend to be even more wary and may shift to feeding in fields at night and larger, safer lakes and ponds with vegetative cover during the day.

    Other Names
    • Silbón Americano (Spanish)
    • Canard d'Amérique (French)
    • Cool Facts