Mystery Bird: Eurasian Wigeon, Anas penelope

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[Mystery bird] Eurasian Wigeon, Anas penelope (also known simply as the Wigeon in Europe), photographed in Arizona. [I will identify this bird for you tomorrow]
Image: Richard Ditch, 2004 [larger view].

Date Time Original: 2004:12:11 10:29:27
Exposure Time: 1/319
F-Number: 11.00
ISO: 320
Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.


Rick Wright, Managing Director of WINGS Birding Tours Worldwide, writes:
Starting at the rear of this handsome duck, we find a long, pointed tail and white-edged black tertials, all contrasting nicely with the white “fender” patch at the rear flank. This is a wigeon, and to our delight, the colorful plumage makes it a male.
It’s easy from there on: the dominant color of the body plumage is gray, contrasting with a pink breast and orange head — the exact opposite of the orange body and gray head of an American Wigeon, and the distinctive plumage pattern of a drake Eurasian Wigeon.
Some birders might be troubled by the green eye-patch, often considered a mark of hybrid origin in apparent Eurasian Wigeon, but many drakes known to be “pure” have green around the eye. To my eye, the bird in the photo shows no obvious signs of American Wigeon blood.
Review all mystery birds to date.

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About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to Mystery Bird: Eurasian Wigeon, Anas penelope

  1. Larry Gardella says:

    Eurasian Wigeon – rufous/coppery head with lighter goldish forehead and crown; blue-gray bill with black tip; rusty breast, white showing at the side and belly; gray side and back; black undertail coverts

  2. Adult breeding male Eurasian Wigeon, based on the head pattern.

  3. The Ridger says:

    Yes, Eurasian Wigeon – colors on head, breast and wings

  4. Carpus says:

    It’s a duck. Whaddo I win?

  5. Carpus says:

    All right, I’m a smart-ass (and not even a very good one). Actually I’ve been reviewing the previous posts from this series. Fascinating and fun!

  6. Ian Kinman says:

    Male European Widgeon. The blue bill with the black point is diagnostic of a widgeon, and the head colour makes it clear that it is not an American Widgeon.

  7. Grant says:

    Off-topic slightly, I had EIGHT on a 40 ft. diameter “pothole” pond in the Allentown, PA, Rose Garden, on my 2nd CBC in 1992. I was so excited, but they turned our to be Regular for the state. Hybrids of American x Eurasian are in the books. Eurasian Teal seem to be more numerous now here, too.