Mareca Americana – American Wigeon

Mareca Americana - American Wigeon found all throughout in the United States during winter season

The American wigeon, Mareca americana, sometimes known as the baldpate, is a North American species of dabbling duck. Formerly classified as Anas, this species is now classified with the other wigeons in the genus Mareca, a dabbling duck. It is the American equivalent of the Eurasian wigeon. Mareca is derived from the Brazilian-Portuguese word Marréco, which refers to a little duck, and americana refers to the United States of America.

Quick Overview: Mareca Americana – American Wigeon
Body size: Around 18-23 in (46-58 cm) and a weight of 771 g (27.2 oz)
Main colors: Brown, White, Green, Black
Range: Throughout the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: January, February, December
Conservation Status: Least Concern

American Wigeon Description

This is a medium-sized duck with a brown body, white cap, a huge green ear patch reaching to the rear of the head, buff washed breast and sides, and a white belly with brown and black combination in its wings.

Mareca Americana - American Wigeon found all throughout in the United States during winter season
Mareca Americana – American Wigeon. Photo by: Thomas Quine


These birds have a length of 18-23 in (46-58 cm) and a weight of 771 g (27.2 oz). Their wings could range from 30-35 in (76-89 cm).


They eat on a range of aquatic and terrestrial insects, including damselflies and caddisflies. However, this type of food accounts for a little portion of their diet. The primary food source is aquatic plants, grasses, agricultural plants stems, and leafy sections.


American Wigeons cluster in flocks on lakes and marshes, where they nibble aquatic vegetation from the surface or tip up to capture plants beneath the water. American Wigeons can be found throughout the year in freshwater wetlands, lakes, slow-moving rivers, impoundments, flooded fields, estuaries, bays, and marshes.


They are active and opportunistic feeders, frequently foraging in open water on objects brought to the surface by diving ducks and coots.

Mareca Americana Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Genus: Mareca
  • Species: Mareca americana

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the winter season (December to February).

Distribution of the American Wigeon in the USA

Throughout much of North America, this species is prevalent. Breeds from Alaska, northern Manitoba, and southern Quebec south to Nevada, the Dakotas, Colorado, and the Great Lakes region, with some populations extending further east.

The American Wigeon can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Mareca Americana – American Wigeon

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