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Wigeon

The Wigeon or Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope) is a common and widespread duck found in the northernmost areas of Europe and Asia. It is the Old World equivalent of the North American Wigeon.

This dabbling duck measures 42-50 cm long and has a wingspan of 71-80 cm. This migratory ducks winters further south than its breeding range. It is highly social outside of the breeding season and will form large flocks.

During times of breeding the male has grey flanks and back, a black rear end and a brilliant white speculum, which is obvious both in flight and at rest. It has a pink breast, white belly, and a chestnut head with a yellowish crown stripe. Its non-breeding plumage resembles that of the female.

The female is light brown, with plumage much like a female Mallard. It can be distinguished from most other ducks, apart from the American Wigeon, on shape. However, that species has a paler head and white axillaries on its underwing.

The Wigeon prefers open wetlands, such as wet grassland or marshes with some taller vegetation, and usually feeds by dabbling for plant food or grazing, which it does very readily. It nests on the ground, near water and under cover.

This is a noisy species. The male has a clear whistle, whereas the female has a low growl.

In Great Britain the Wigeon is common as a winter visitor, but scarce as a breeding bird in Scotland, the Lake District, the Pennines and occasionally further south.

Wigeon


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