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American Wigeon

Scientific Name:

Mareca Americana




American wigeons can be found in wetlands, marshes, reservoirs, lakes and ponds and pastures.3 In suburban or urban areas American wigeons might be found on large fields or grassy areas near water such as parks or golf courses.1


American Wigeons can naturally be found throughout North America migrating to the south in winter and back to the north for the summer.1,3


Least Concern

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


American Wigeons are compact, medium sized ducks with a short beak and a round head.2 Males sport an vibrant green stripe extending behind their eyes with a white stripe on their crown.1 American Wigeons may be up to 23 inches in length and weigh just under three pounds.1 During breeding season, male American Wigeons are a pale cinnamon color with white rump patches and dark tail feathers. American wigeons are dabbling ducks (meaning they eat on the surface or just dunking their head underwater, they don’t dive), their short bill allows them to effectively pluck seeds and grasses as well as aquatic plants.1 While their diet consists primarily of plants, during the breeding season they add insects and aquatic invertebrates to their diet.1 They are more wary than other types of ducks and will flush and fly off quickly so they can be difficult to observe.1

Fast Facts:

  • American wigeons may also be referred to by their nickname “baldplate” because the white stripe down the middle of their head resembles a bald head.1

  • American wigeons must have more to talk about than other ducks as they are known to be quite vocal, particularly during the nonbreeding season.1



Regina O'Shea-Hockett, research & content

Dayna Genio, web editor

Last Updated:

July 3, 2024 at 3:57:05 PM

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