Eurasian Wigeon

Anas penelope
An Eurasian Wigeon specimen on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

The Eurasian Widgeon is the Old World counterpart to the American Widgeon (Anas americana). The male of this species may be separated from the male American Widgeon by its buff crown, reddish-brown head, pink breast and grey body. The female Eurasian Widgeon is more similar in appearance to the female American Widgeon, but has a slight reddish cast to the head. The Eurasian Widgeon is slightly smaller than the American Widgeon at 18-20 inches long. The Eurasian Widgeon breeds across northern Eurasia. In winter, this species may be found from Europe south to Southeast Asia, India, and North Africa. The Eurasian Widgeon is also a rare visitor to coastal North America in winter. On its breeding grounds in the Old World, the Eurasian Widgeon inhabits freshwater marshes and slow-moving rivers. In winter, this species becomes more amenable to saltwater, and may be found on sheltered bays and lagoons. Like the American Widgeon, Eurasian Widgeons feed primarily on aquatic plants and grasses in winter, but they may also consume insects and other small invertebrates during the breeding season. Eurasian Widgeons may be seen either on land or in the water, where they may be observed foraging for food. Winter visitors to North America are often found in small numbers mixed in with larger flocks of American Widgeons. Eurasian Widgeons are most active during the day.

DC Information

A rare migrant and winter resident from October to April. Seen with flocks of American Widgeon in tidewater areas, ponds, and lakes to April. The reddish head and gray flanks of this species is the reverse of the pattern of the American Widgeon. The female has a dull brown head.

Specimen Information

Date: 5/27/1863
Collected By: C Drexler
Locality:  Alexandria, VA
Sex: Male
Catalog ID: 29519

Bird Vocalization

Sound from xeno-canto. XC37499 Anas penelope (Eurasian Wigeon)