Photo obtained from USFWS Digital Library System
SCIENTIFIC NAME: American Wigeon (Anas
OTHER NAMES: Baldpate, robber duck, gray duck
DESCRIPTION: American Wigeon (Anas
HABITAT: The American Wigeon is a dabbling duck, meaning one that feeds by tipping face down in the water with its tail and feet upward as opposed to diving for its food. It prefers shallow water areas such as marshes and potholes. This is mainly because of their food preferences. However, wigeons will also utilize lakes, rivers and flooded agricultural lands.
FEEDING HABITS: American Wigeons prefer the stems and leafy parts of aquatic plants, while most other dabbling ducks feed on the seeds of aquatic and cultivated plants. American Wigeons eat plants like eelgrass, wigeon grass, bushy pondweed and muskgrass from coastal estuaries. When foraging in fresh water lakes and ponds, they feed on pondweeds, coontail, wild celery and even filamentous algae. They will also utilize waste agricultural grains.
LIFE HISTORY: American Wigeons begin to develop pair bonds as early as November and December. It is thought that most still wait until they reach the breeding grounds before they actually pair. The bond between the drake and the hen is short in duration, as the drake usually leaves within the first two weeks of incubation. The hen lays 6 to 12 creamy white eggs in a shallow depression lined with grass and feathers, beginning in early May into mid June. Incubation last 23 to 25 days and ducklings begin flying between 37 and 48 days. Staging for the fall migration begins in mid August for those in
Bellrose, Frank C. 1976. Ducks, Geese and Swans of
Collins, Henry Hill Jr. 1981. Complete Field Guide to North American Wildlife. Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.
Author: Mitchell Marks, Wildlife Biologist, June 2006