EURASIAN WIGEON (Mareca penelope) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Eurasian Wigeon drake has a rufous brown head and neck with a creamy vertical forehead band. Back and wings are grey and rump and tail are black. Primary wings are white, tips are black. Breast is pinkish grey. Bill is light blue with black tip. Female is brown on top with rufous brown breast and sides. Bill is light bue with black tip. For both sexes the nderside is white, the eyes are dark brown and the legs and feet are dark grey. Duck length is about 50 cm (20 inches).
NAME: English name ‘Wigeon’ is from French ‘Vigeon’, which means a whistling duck. Latin genus name ‘Mareca’ is from Portuguese and means a small duck. Latin species name ‘penelope’ refers to Greek mythology deity Penelope.
HABITAT: Wetlands in open spaces such as marshes, flooded fields, coastal bays and estuaries.
DIET: Plant material.
NESTING: Nests on the ground in thick vegetation near water. Around seven to nine light beige eggs are laid, incubated by the female. Ducklings can feed themselves but cared for by the mother.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeding range includes Northern Europe and Eurasia. Winters in southeast India, Japan, India, the UK, coastal Europe and around the Meditarranean, and some parts of Northern Africa. There are small groups that winter in North America along both coasts and in some Midwest locations. Some individuals also are rare visitors to Hawaii for the winter.
Distribution Map:
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, observed occasionally year-round.
CONSERVATION: Common and widespread, not at risk.
NOTES: This species is a ‘dabbling’ duck, i.e. finding its food on the water surface rather than by diving. Forms large flocks outside breeding season, seen with American wigeons in North America. Will hybridize with the latter.
SIMILAR SPECIES: American Wigeon

Eurasian wigeon, Osaka, Japan - June 2010, photo by Kuribo
Eurasian wigeon, Osaka, Japan, by Kuribo
Eurasian wigeons on ice - photo by Frode Inge Helland, Apr. 2010
Eurasian wigeons on ice, by Frode Inge Helland