Size: 18-23" (46-58 cm). Males have grayish head with green face stripe and white crown and forehead (hence the nickname Baldplate). Body brownish with wings and back either dark brown or black. Belly white. Females mottled brown with some gray on the head. Both sexes have a blue bill tipped with black. Note the white patch on the forewing; visible in flight. speculum green.
Similar Species- The Eurasian Wigeon is an accidental stray to Idaho. It has a chestnut head with buff crown and forehead. Females can resemble Gadwalls. Gadwall has white speculum, not white forewing.
Males give a three-parted whistle with the second note higher: whee-whee- whee. Females quack.
Breeds mainly from Alaska, east to Manitoba, and south to northeastern California, northern Nevada, northern Colorado, and portions of Great Plains states. Winters mainly from southern Alaska to Mexico, central U.S. to southern Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, and Nova Scotia south coastally to Gulf Coast.
Generally found on large marshes and lakes. When not breeding, occupies both freshwater and brackish areas and forages on marsh edges, sloughs and sheltered bays. In Idaho, usually inhabits low- elevation lakes, marshes and reservoirs, but may be found on higher-elevation waters during fall migration.
Feeds on leaves, stems, buds, and some seeds of pondweeds, wigeon grass, grasses, and sedges. May also eat some snails, beetles, and crickets.
Builds concealed nest, not necessarily near water. Forages in shallow water and grazes in fields; may damage cultivated crops. In Idaho, known to graze in fields and forage in flooded fields.
No references are available at this time.