American Wigeon

Mareca americana

In olden days, we called the American Wigeon “Baldplate” because of their white crown. These birds breed mostly in Canada and Alaska, but also in the northern tier of the USA. The American Wigeon has a shorter bill than other dabblers. We believe this to be an adaptation to help them harvest the plant food they prefer.

The calls made by these birds are wheezing, or whistling sounds. It is not unlike the calls of the whistling ducks.

While science does not list the population of these birds as threatened, their numbers have been dropping by about 2% per year for the past half century, resulting in a 65% reduction over that period. Drought and wet cycles affect the population, but loss of habitat from agricultural practices seems to be a powerful factor.

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