- ORDER: Anseriformes
- FAMILY: Anatidae
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
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.
- Silbón Europeo (Spanish)
- Canard siffleur (French)
- Cool Facts
- The species name for Eurasian Wigeon is penelope. In Greek mythology, Odysseus's wife, Penelope, was rescued by a duck after she was thrown into the ocean.
- Eurasian Wigeons seen each year in eastern North America likely come from Iceland, as evidenced by birds banded in Iceland being recovered by hunters in northeastern Canada. In western North America, they may come from eastern Asia, particularly easternmost Russia.
- The oldest recorded Eurasian Wigeon in North America was a male, and at least 10 years, 7 months old when he was shot in California in 2016, the same state where he was banded in 2007. In Europe, the oldest banded Eurasian Wigeon reached the age of 33 years, 7 months.