Photo: WikiMedia Commons

Eurasian Wigeon

Mareca penelope

This Old World counterpart to our American Wigeon is a regular winter visitor to the Pacific lowlands from Canada to California. Small numbers are also seen in winter in the northeast and elsewhere. In parts of the Pacific Northwest, examination of any winter flock of wigeon is likely to reveal a male Eurasian among them, because the two wigeon species invariably flock together.
Conservation status Numbers reported wintering in North America (mainly in west) have increased in recent decades, reflecting better coverage or actual population increase. Possibly breeding at some undiscovered site on this continent.
Family Ducks and Geese
Habitat Marshes, lakes, bays, fields. In winter in North America often on marshy ponds with open ground nearby, or in flooded fields; also on shallow coastal estuaries and sheltered bays. Presence of American Wigeon is best key to good habitat for Eurasian Wigeon.
This Old World counterpart to our American Wigeon is a regular winter visitor to the Pacific lowlands from Canada to California. Small numbers are also seen in winter in the northeast and elsewhere. In parts of the Pacific Northwest, examination of any winter flock of wigeon is likely to reveal a male Eurasian among them, because the two wigeon species invariably flock together.
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Feeding Behavior

Forages by grazing on land, by dabbling at surface of water, sometimes by submerging head and neck. May steal food brought to surface by other species such as coots or geese. May feed by day or night.


Eggs

8-9, sometimes 6-12. Whitish to pale buff. Incubation is by female only, 24-25 days. Young: leave nest and go to water shortly after hatching. Young are tended by female but find all their own food. Age at first flight 40-45 days.


Young

Leave nest and go to water shortly after hatching. Young are tended by female but find all their own food. Age at first flight 40-45 days.

Diet

Almost entirely plant material. Diet in North America not well known; in Europe, eats wide variety of leaves, stems, roots, seeds. Eats some insects in summer.


Nesting

Known to breed only in Old World, but likely to be found nesting in North America eventually. Several males may compete with each other in courting one female, jostling for position. Displays of male include lifting tips of folded wings to expose white wing patch, raising head while giving whistled call, lowering bill to display buffy crown patch to female. Nest site is on ground under dense vegetation, usually near water. Nest is shallow depression lined with grass and with large amount of down.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Reaches North America from both east and west. Birds banded in Iceland have been recovered in eastern Canada. Regular in migration in western and southern Alaska. Birds wintering in Pacific lowlands from British Columbia to California probably come from eastern Siberia.

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Migration

Reaches North America from both east and west. Birds banded in Iceland have been recovered in eastern Canada. Regular in migration in western and southern Alaska. Birds wintering in Pacific lowlands from British Columbia to California probably come from eastern Siberia.

Songs and Calls
Piping 2-note whistle, seldom heard in America.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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How climate change could affect this bird's range

In the broadest and most detailed study of its kind, Audubon scientists have used hundreds of thousands of citizen-science observations and sophisticated climate models to predict how birds in the U.S. and Canada will react to climate change.

Learn more

Read more: climate.audubon.org
Duck-like Birds Surface Feeding Ducks

Eurasian Wigeon

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season.

More on reading these maps.

Each map is a visual guide to where a particular bird species may find the climate conditions it needs to survive in the future. We call this the bird’s “climatic range.”

The colors indicate the season in which the bird may find suitable conditions— blue for winter, yellow for summer (breeding), and green for where they overlap (indicating their presence year-round).

The darker the shaded area, the more likely it is the bird species will find suitable climate conditions to survive there.

The outline of the approximate current range for each season remains fixed in each frame, allowing you to compare how the range will expand, contract, or shift in the future.

The first frame of the animation shows where the bird can find a suitable climate today (based on data from 2000). The next three frames predict where this bird’s suitable climate may shift in the future—one frame each for 2020, 2050, and 2080.

You can play or pause the animation with the orange button in the lower left, or select an individual frame to study by clicking on its year.

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season. More on reading these maps.
Winter
Summer

Winter Range
Summer Range
Both Seasons
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