Male wigeons have a
white patch from the forehead to the middle of the crown and an iridescent green band from
the eye to the back of the head. They have a pinkish-brown breast and sides that are
separated from the black undertail coverts by white flank feathers. In flight the white
shoulder patch is diagnostic. The female wigeon has a gray head with a brownish black
crown and a brownish chest and sides. Both males and females have a bluish black-tipped
M 20", F 19"
M 1.8 lbs., F 1.6 lbs.
Wigeons are among
the earliest waterfowl to reach their wintering grounds. Wigeons in Alaska and western
Canada migrate along the Pacific flyway and winter around Puget Sound and into California.
Birds which use the Central flyway winter in the Texas panhandle and along the Texas and
Louisiana coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Along the Mississippi flyway, wetlands and lakes in
eastern Arkansas and western Tennessee also provide important wintering habitat for
wigeons. Wigeons use a variety of habitats in winter, including ponds, lakes, and saline
and brackish marshes with abundant aquatic vegetation. Wigeon also readily forage on
grasses and sedges in wet meadows and pastures
Wigeons nest farther
north than any other dabbling duck except the pintail. They breed throughout northern
Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba, Alaska, and the Northwest Territories. Wigeons prefer
shallow lakes and marshy sloughs with submerged vegetation and surrounded by dry