16" from bill to tail,
by 5" high, by 6" wide.
The European wigeon is a gaily-colored duck. The male is most notable
because of its bright russet-red head. It has a yellowish-cream
stroke at its forehead, a rust colored breast, pale gray back and
sides with a white patch. The female is more subdued in color with
spotted dark brown body plumage with faint rust colored sides,
paler colored head and neck, and a shadowy eye patch. Her bill
is a distinctive blue with a black tip. The adult bird averages
17.5 to 19.5 inches in length.
Average Weight Range
On average, a mature wigeon weighs 1.5 pounds.
The European wigeon does not breed in North America outside of captivity;
however, it is a visitor along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
The nest commonly contains seven to eight cream-white eggs secreted in
heavy plant growth. Incubation period averages 22 to 24 days and the
male sometimes takes part in the incubation stage.
The wigeon spends much of its time grazing on a variety of grasses and
sedges. It has been observed stealing food from a diving duck as it pops
to the surface after a dive.
In the wild, the European wigeon is found in Northern Europe and Asia,
and can be found in Western Europe in the winter. It also lives in North
Africa, India, and China, and on occasions, it has been spotted on both
coasts of North America.
The European wigeon prefers marshes, ponds, lakes, tidal marshes and
Common Hunting Methods
If a hunter harvests a European wigeon, it is normally taken incidentally
as it travels with a flock of American wigeons. Waterfowl are harvested
using many different types of shotguns. The three popular methods of
hunting ducks are pass shooting, jump shooting and decoying. The methods
are frequently combined during a hunt. A retrieving dog is valuable and
is used by most avid waterfowl hunters.
Possessing both keen eyesight and a strong, fast flying ability, the
duck can present quite a challenge to the hunter. The fact that the best
hunts usually take place in less than favorable weather conditions adds
to this challenge. The European widgeon is harvested for its tasty meat
and its beautiful mounts.
"Wigeon" is also spelled "widgeon".
This bird is known in other parts of the world as a Whistling duck because
of the sound of its call.
The European wigeon does not breed
in North America.