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< >  Anas americana - American wigeon (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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(Waterfowl)

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Baldpate
Wigeon
Widgeon
Amerikanische Pfeifente (German)
Nordamerikanische Pfeifente (German)
Canard d’Amérique (French)
Canard siffleur d’Amérique (French)
Siffleur d’Amerique (French)
Silbón Americano (Spanish)
Pato americano (Spanish)
Amerikaanse Smient (Dutch)
Amerikansk bläsand (Swedish)
Mareca americana

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

Eclipse.

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B2, B3, B5, B8, B19, B25, B26, B27.

Aviculture references:
B7, B29, B30, B31, B40, B94, B96, B97, B108, B128.w1, B128.w2
D1, D8

Other References

B138
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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information

Notes

General Information:
  • Dabbling Ducks are generally hardy, easy to maintain and easy to breed. Shelter may be required by some of the smaller species in winter. They should be provided with cover (including marginal pond cover) and loafing areas as well as water. A pen which is 50% water is suggested. The water may be shallow (i.e. no more than two feet deep is required), and muddy areas for dabbling in are also appreciated. These ducks are generally good in mixed collections, although the smaller and quieter species may be bullied. Territorial disputes between ducks of the same species may be avoided by keeping only one pair of each species in an enclosure, unless the area is very large. For a single pair of ducks a pen are of 50 to 100 square metres, depending on the size of duck, should be provided.
  • A diet based on wheat and pellets is suggested, with maintenance pellets changed to breeders pellets for the breeding season. Bread and greenfood are also appreciated. Grit should always be available, with soluble grit (e.g. oystershell grit) as a calcium source when breeding.
  • Most species are ground nesters and both close ground cover and ground level nest boxes should be provided. Hand-rearing is generally preferred, as these ducks are generally poor parents in captive conditions, particularly in enclosures shared with other waterfowl. These ducks are prone to hybridization, particularly with closely related species, which should be kept apart from one another.
  • Wigeon are grazing species and should be provided with a sward of short grass, with extra green food provided if sufficient grass is not available.

(B7, B29, B30, B40, B94, B128.w1, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • American wigeon are winter-hardy, non-aggressive, and suitable for a mixed collections with a grazing area available. Grass and other green food for this grazing duck should be supplemented with grain and pellets.
  • They are fairly easy to breed, using natural ground cover, or they may use a ground-level box. They may incubate if undisturbed, but at risk from predators including hedgehogs. Ducklings, which are not difficult to rear, appreciate duckweed and aquatic insects.
  • Fertile hybrids with Anas penelope - Eurasian wigeon may occur easily, and the two species should not be kept in the same enclosure. Hybrids have also been reported with other Anas species, some Aythya species, Netta rufina - Red-crested pochard and Cairina moschata - Muscovy duck.

(B7, B29, B31, B40, B94, B96, B97, B108, B128.w2)

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme recommended average ring size: J 9.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 18-23 inches, 46-58cm (B3): 45-56cm (B1)
Adult weight General 680-770g (B1).
Male Average 770g (B3); mean 1.7lbs. (B8).
Female Average 680g (B3); mean 1.5 lbs. (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Blue-grey with a black tip.
Variations (If present) --
Eyes (Iris) Male Brown.
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Blue-grey with a black tip.
Eyes (Iris) Brown.

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Legs

Adult Male Dark grey.
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Dark grey.

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Plumage

Adult Male Forehead and central crown white, head and neck buff/white with intense black speckling; glossy green-black band surrounding eye and back to run down sides of hindneck. Breast, flanks and upperparts mainly pinkish brown with fine black vermiculations, abdomen and sides behind flanks bright white.

Tail black with grey outer feathers, tail-coverts black. Tertials elongated, pointed, black with white edging, primaries and their coverts grey-brown, speculum formed by secondaries: glossy green, shading to black ends; lesser coverts brownish, greater coverts white with black tips.

Variations (If present) Female: head and neck white, with dark flecking, breast pinkish, flanks medium brown with paler feather edges, upperparts darker. Abdomen white. Primaries and their coverts dark grey-brown, secondaries greenish black (duller than male), with white tips, secondary coverts brown with pale feather tips, greater coverts narrow black tips, wide white band subterminally.

Eclipse: Similar to female but richer chestnut brown, upperparts blacker, and retains wing pattern.

Juvenile As female, speculum dull, upperparts plainer.

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts brown (very dark crown and back), face reddish, small eyeline, underparts and spots on wings and sides buffish.
Bill: Dark grey.
Feet: Dark grey.

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Begins April/May.
No. of Clutches --

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Nest placement and structure

Concealed in vegetation on the ground, often some distance from water, a depression lined with grass and down.

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 7-9 (B8)
Range 7-9 (B1); 6-12 (B8).
Egg Description Creamy. Size: 54 x 35mm, weight: 43g.

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Incubation

23-25 days (B1); mean 25 days (B8).

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Hatching

Synchronous.

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Fledging

About 37-48 days (B1); about 37-63 days (mean 40-50 days) (B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males One, occasionally two years old.
Females One, occasionally two years old.

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Grazes while walking and feeds while swimming in shallows.
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Nests as solitary pairs or in small groups.
Incubation By female only.
Newly-hatched Tended by female.
Juveniles

Usually with female until fledged, but female may abandon earlier to fly to moulting site, or stay, start moulting and then be abandoned by fledged ducklings.

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Gregarious, found in small flocks except when nesting.
Inter-specific Takes food from swans, geese and ducks that can reach favoured plants (wild celery) growing beyond their reach.

Sometimes flock with Anas strepera - Gadwall.

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Sexual Behaviour

Seasonal pair bonds, male usually leaves by about a week into incubation.

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Predation in Wild

Eggs taken by crows and skunks.

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Activity Patterns

Generally fairly terrestrial.
Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

Basically vegetarian. Grasses, sedges, herbs, aquatic plants, seeds, also some snails and insects.

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Newly-hatched

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal North-western to central-eastern North America, south to north-eastern California and northern Colorado.

Winters on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America, inland south to Panama, islands of Bahamas and Hawaii.

Occasional and Accidental Small numbers regularly to Europe – regularly seen in Britain.

Occasionally vagrants to north-eastern Siberia, Japan, Greenland, Newfoundland, Bermuda, Aleutian Islands.

Introduced

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Habitat

Freshwater swamps, lakes, pools with good grazing around. Large rivers, lakes and coasts in winter.

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Common. Winter population may be more than 6.5 million (B1).

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats --

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Captive Populations

Common in collections, especially in America (B8).

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Trade

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