American Wigeon

Waterfowl Identification

The American Wigeon, Anas americana, drake has a distinctive white forehead with a deep green stripe running from the eye to the back. The body, chest, back and sides are light brown while the belly is white and the rump is black. Bold white shoulder patches on the drake are visible in flight. The hen is generally brown and has duller shoulder patches than the drake. Both sexes have stubby bills and slightly pointed tails.
Image comparing drake and hen/UISFWS Drake images

These are nervous birds, quick to take alarm. Their flight is fast, irregular, with many twists and turns. In a bunched flock, their movements have been compared to those of pigeons.

When open water is handy, wigeons often raft up offshore until late afternoon when they move to marshes and ponds to feed. The white belly and forewing are very showy in the air.

Length: 21"
Weight: 1 3/4 lbs.

Image comparing fulvous and Black-bellied whistling ducks wings/USFWS

Photos

 Distribution Map

In Flight
In flight illustration/USFWS In flight illustration/USFWS Flock Pattern

Sounds
Drakes whistle; hens have a loud kaow and a lower qua-awk.

Last Updated: September 14, 2017