Eurasian Wigeon Duck
The Eurasian Wigeon Duck breeds in the northernmost areas of Europe and Asia. It is the Old World counterpart of North America’s American wigeon. It is strongly migratory and winters further south than its breeding range. It migrates to southern Asia and Africa. In Great Britain and Ireland, the Eurasian wigeon is common as a winter visitor, but scarce as a breeding bird in Scotland, the Lake District, the Pennines and occasionally further south, with only a handful of breeding pairs in Ireland. It can be found as an uncommon winter visitor in the United States on the mid-Atlantic and Pacific coasts. It is a rare visitor to the rest of the United States except for the Four Corners and the southern Appalachians.
Male – The male Eurasian Wigeon Duck has a chestnut colored head with creamy-yellow forehead and crown, silver-grey beak with black tip, a pink breast, mainly grey body with white flash along the flanks, white under-parts, black rear-end, dark-green speculum, white patch on upper-wings, and legs and feet are grey.
Female – The female Eurasian Wigeon Duck is mostly grey-brown and has whitish under-parts.
Eclipse – The male Eurasian Wigeon Duck in eclipse plumage is fairly similar to the female but has a rich chestnut brown head, breast and flanks, and retains the wing pattern.
Size: – Typical Adult is 17-20 inches.
Food: – Grazes on grasses, herbs, aquatic plants, pond weeds, eelgrass, algae, and seaweed.
Habitat: – Wetlands, marshes, lakes, wet grassland, and coastal bays in Iceland, UK, northern Europe and northern Asia. Winters further south in southern Europe, northern Africa, Middle-East, India, China, and Japan.
Breeding Season: – May to June.
Eggs: – 7 to 10 (creamy-buff color).
Notes: – The Eurasian Wigeon Duck is a dabbling duck which is widespread with a large population. This duck has unusual feeding habits, it will graze on land like a goose and because it is not good at diving it will steal food from diving ducks as they surface.
The different types of wild ducks can be grouped into puddle, aka “dabbling” and diving ducks. The dabblers mostly feed in smaller bodies of shallow water or along shorelines, where they are able to tip their bodies forward to reach their food on the bottom. There are divers who feed in deeper water where they dive and pursue their quarry. Some of these birds, the Harlequin Duck for example, actually dives to the bottom of fast-flowing waters and feeds on life forms attached to rocks.