Duck-like Birds

American Wigeon American Wigeon
Anas americana


18-23" (46-58 cm). Male is brownish with white crown, green ear patch, and bold white shoulder patches easily visible in flight. Female is mottled brown with grayish head and whitish shoulder patches. Bill pale blue in both sexes.


Distinctive whistled whew-whee-whew; also quacks.


Marshes, ponds, and shallow lakes.


9-11 whitish or cream-colored eggs in a down-lined nest of grass, often several hundred yards from water.


Breeds from Alaska, northern Manitoba, and southern Quebec south to Nevada, Dakotas, and Great Lakes region; rarely farther east. Winters mainly along Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts.

American Wigeon


The American Wigeon, or "Baldpate," is a wary bird, taking flight the instant it is disturbed. Flocks rise straight up from the surface of the water, uttering their whistling calls. They are often seen on marshy ponds in the company of diving birds such as coots, Redheads, and Canvasbacks. Wigeons wait at the surface while the other birds dive, then snatch the food away when the birds reappear. They also visit grain fields and meadows to graze like geese on tender shoots. Unlike many dabbling ducks, these birds often spend the night on large open bays, sleeping in rafts well out from shore.