This medium-sized dabbling duck spends the winter on the Solent coast, returning to its summer breeding grounds of Iceland, Russia, Scandinavia and Ukraine.
All about wigeon
Wigeon feed on the surface on aquatic plants such as eelgrass, seaweed, algae and seeds. Their natural habitats are grasslands, wetlands, marine and intertidal areas. Some wigeon stay in the UK all year round and can be found breeding in the summer months in Scotland, Northern England and South East England.
The male has a chestnut head with a characteristic creamy-yellow ‘punk’ crown stripe, grey back and sides with a pink chest and white wing patches that can be seen when they fly. The female is light brown and looks quite similar to a female mallard.
Like many other ducks, wigeon don’t quack: instead they make a memorable whistling call.
Wigeon are amber listed in the UK. They are a qualifying feature for the Chichester and Langstone Harbour Special Protection Area – that means, when the site was designated, a nationally significant number of wigeon used these coastlines in the winter.
Did you know?
Sometimes wigeon will hang around flocks of diving ducks and snatch food which they’ve caught when they surface.