Belongs to: dabbling ducks

Wigeon Anas penelope

BoCC Amber list

Best time to see: Oct to mid Apr

Key facts

Attractive dabbling duck that winters in large numbers in UK, with a few breeding here

Breed on coastal marshes; winter mainly on the coast, moving inland to feed on meadows

Widespread and numerous winter visitor from Iceland, Scandinavia and Russia


Male: pale grey with black and white rear and chestnut head with gold crown; female cinnamon with delicate head; 45 cm

Grazes or dabbles to feed on grass, eelgrass and other aquatic vegetation; forms large flocks during the winter

Rise straight out of the water together when disturbed; flight strong and quick, usually in tight formation


Drakes give their whistling call when courting, and stand guard over the ducks during incubation

Nest is a lined hollow on the ground near water; one brood of 7-8 creamy eggs, May–June

© Owen Keen

© Alan Williams