male American wigeon standing

American Wigeon

Mareca americana

CLASS Aves | ORDER Anseriformes | FAMILY Anatidae

RANGE Breeds from western Canada into the American Northwest; winters mainly along the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts and can be found throughout the United States during migration

HABITAT Shallow freshwater wetlands, including ponds, marshes, and rivers.

DIET Aquatic plants, insects, mollusks, and crustaceans

19 - 46.9 oz

16.5 - 23.2 in

33 in

3 – 13 eggs

IUCN Status
Least Concern
American wigeon male swimming

Male American wigeons have a white patch from the forehead to the middle of the crown and an iridescent green band from the eye to the back of the head.

Female American wigeons have a gray head with a brownish-black crown and brownish chest and sides.


The American Wigeon's short bill enables it to exert more force at the bill tip than other dabbling ducks, thus permitting efficient dislodging and plucking of vegetation.

The American Wigeon was formerly known as "baldpate" because the white stripe resembled a bald man's head.