Anas americana
(American Wigeon)

Order: Anseriformes
Order Description: Swans, Geese, Ducks
Family: Anatidae
Family Description: Swans, Geese and Ducks

Physical Description:
Size: 18-23" (46-58 cm). Males have grayish head with green face stripe and white crownClick word for definition 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. speculumClick word for definition 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.

Song:
Males give a three-parted whistle with the second note higher: whee-whee- whee. Females quack.

Distribution:
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.

Habitat:
Generally found on large marshes and lakes. When not breeding, occupies both freshwater and brackishClick word for definition 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.

Diet:
Feeds on leaves, stems, buds, and some seeds of pondweeds, wigeon grass, grasses, and sedges. May also eat some snails, beetles, and crickets.

Ecology:
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.

Reproduction:
Breeding begins in early May in southern range, to early June in north. clutchClick word for definition size varies from 6-12 eggs, but is usually 9-11. Female incubatesClick word for definition eggs (incubation lasts from 22-24 days) and tends young, which become independent in about 6-7 wk.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABNJB10180
Status: Game species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.


Photos by Luther Goldman,©2002 and C. Trost,©2000
Design by Ean Harker 1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.