The Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope or Anas penelope) is a bird in the Mareca genus of dabbling ducks. It is also spelled Widgeon.
The male Eurasian Wigeon has grey feathers on its back and sides during the breeding season, with a black tail, a dark-green speculum, and a white patch on its upper wings. It has a pink chest, white belly, and a chestnut-coloured head with a cream-coloured crown. In the non-breeding season, the male and the female look similar.
The female Eurasian Wigeon is light brown with a paler head and white feathers on its underwing. Sometimes, the female has a rufous (red-brown) body with a redder head or a grey body with a grey head.
It grows to 42-52 centimetres (17-20 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 71-80 centimetres (28-31 inches).
It is a common and widespread duck across Europe and Asia. It is migratory, flying in large flocks to warmer locations in winter.
It prefers open wetlands, such as damp grasslands and marshlands with some tall vegetation so that it can hide during the breeding season.
The Eurasian Wigeon feeds on aquatic plants by dabbling in the water or along the muddy edges of the water, looking for food.
The Eurasian Wigeon is often seen in pairs. It nests on the ground, near water, among tall reeds.
The female lays 6-8 eggs, which hatch after 25-27 days. The female looks after the chicks.
[Location of photographs: Berlin, Germany]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM