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Male (rear) and female (front) Eurasian Wigeons
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Anas
Subgenus: Mareca
Male (front) and female (rear) American Wigeons
Male (rear) and female (front) Chiloé Wigeons

The wigeons are dabbling ducks in the genus Anas. There are three extant species: the Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope), the American Wigeon (A. americana) and the Chiloé Wigeon (A. sibilatrix). A fourth species, the Amsterdam Island Duck (Anas marecula), is believed to have become extinct around 1800.

All three are similarly shaped, with a steep forehead and bulbous rear to the head. Males have a distinctive breeding plumage, in their eclipse plumage they resemble females, which are similar in appearance year-round.[citation needed] The three species' closest relatives within the genus Anas are the Gadwall and the Falcated Duck.[1] All three wigeon species hybridise in captivity,[2] and American and Eurasian Wigeons hybridise in the wild.[3] An American Wigeon × Mallard hybrid has also been recorded.[4]

Widgeon is an alternative, though archaic, spelling. The American Wigeon was formerly called the Baldpate by ornithologists, and some people still use that name, especially hunters.


  1. ^ Johnson, KP; Sorenson, MD (1999). "Phylogeny and biogeography of dabbling ducks (genus: Anas): A comparison of molecular and morphological evidence". The Auk 116 (3): 792–805. doi:10.2307/4089339. 
  2. ^ Jiguet, Frédéric (1999). "Photo-forum: hybrid American Wigeons". Birding World 12 (6): 247–52. 
  3. ^ Carey, Geoff J. (1993) Hybrid male wigeon in East Asia Hong Kong Bird Report 1992 160-6
  4. ^ Fedynich, Alan M. and Rhodes, Olin E., Jr. (1993). Mallard × American Wigeon Hybrid on the Southern High Plains of Texas. doi:10.2307/3672079. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Photographs of hybrid wigeons can be seen here and here.