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Photographing The Eurasian Wigeon

Find out about the appearance, occurrence and behaviour of the Eurasian Wigeon.

|  Eschenbach Arena D+ 10x50 B in Animals / Wildlife
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Eurasian wigeon

The Eurasian wigeon is not an easy bird to observe, these beautiful birds are constantly on the move to get enough food.

Appearance

The male is easily recognisable thanks to its round and red head. A pale yellow band begins at the base of the beak and goes above the head. The plumage of its back is pale grey and becomes brighter on the flanks. It also has a pink breast and a creamy white belly.

The female wears a more sober brown and grey plumage throughout the year, clear bands are visible on the flanks. One of the big differences between the female and the male is the beak; the male’s beak is light grey-blue with a black tip while the female beak is entirely dark grey-blue. They are quite similar, but the male has more vivid and warmer colours. The Eurasian wigeon is about 50 centimetres long.

 

Occurrence

The Eurasian wigeon breeds in the far north, mostly in Scandinavia, Russia, and even in Siberia. It is also common to find them in Iceland and the British Isles.
As migratory birds, they travel south during winter: Africa, India, China, some wetlands in the Netherlands and even in Germany. The Eurasian wigeon spends a lot of time in water-rich areas where vegetation is abundant like the taiga with its lake and marshes.

 

Behaviour

The Eurasian wigeon is diurnal, but it seeks its food at dusk. It has no trouble looking for food in the darkness, its vision adapts to the ambient brightness thanks to a special light reflecting layer at the back of the eye.

Its food mainly consists of aquatic plants. Since those plants are poorly digested and not very nutritious, the Eurasian wigeon must ingest a large quantity of them, between 300 and 400 grams, to meet its daily nutritional needs. It can take up to 15 hours per day. Fortunately, wigeons are very sociable and each individual can count on the protection of the group to have some rest.

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