American Wigeon American Wigeon
American Wigeon

Scientific Classification

Common Name
American wigeon
Genus Species
Mareca americana

Fast Facts

The American wigeon is a medium-sized duck.  They have a white crown with a green post-ocular stripe and gray on their lower face and neck.  The breast and flanks are rusty and the back is dark brown. These birds also have a white patch on the rear portion of the flanks and black under the tail coverts.
Reaches lengths up to 35 cm (14 in.) and has a wingspan of 87 cm (34 in.)
Approximately 1.01 kg (2.25 lbs.)
Seeds, leaves, stems, buds of pondweeds, widgeon grass, sedges, rice, snails, beetles, and crickets
Approximately 22 to 24 days
Clutch Size
9 to 11 eggs
Fledging Duration
45 to 48 days
Sexual Maturity
About 1 year
Life Span
Averages 9 to 10 years
This species has an extremely large range and can be found in North America from Alaska and Canada down to Mexico and Central America. They can also be found in Columbia, Venezuela and throughout the Caribbean.
Marshes and ponds
The population is extremely large with at least 10,000 mature individuals. The population is stable and is not severely fragmented.
IUCN: Least Concern
CITES: Not listed
USFWS:  Not listed

Fun Facts

American wigeons are known to follow other migrating ducks in order to steal food from them.

These birds are diving ducks, not dabbling ducks, and will completely submerge themselves to chase food. These ducks alert their fellow ducks of danger by alarm quacks and rattling their wings.

These birds will alert other members of their flock to danger by alarm quacks and rattling their wings.

Ecology and Conservation

These birds are a food source for predators and also help control aquatic plant growth.


Austin, G. Birds of the World. New York. Golden Press, Inc., 1961.

Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. UK. Blandford Books Ltd., 1981.

Johnsgard, P. Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World. Lincoln. Univ. Of Neb. Press, 1978.

Scott, P. A Coloured Key of the Wildfowl of the World. Slimbridge, England. The Wildfowl Trust. 1988.

Todd, F.S. Natural History of Waterfowl. San Diego, Ca. Ibis Publishing Co., 1996.

BirdLife International. 2016. Mareca americana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22680163A92846924. Downloaded on 04 December 2018.

Photo Credit: American_Wigeon_pair.jpg. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Image by: Howcheng. Year Created: 8 November 2008. Website: License: CC by 3.0.