Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Eurasian wigeon

In Thai: เป็ดปากสั้น, ped pak san

Binomial name: Mareca penelope, Carolus Linnaeus, 1758

The Eurasian wigeon, also known as widgeon (Mareca penelope) is one of three species of wigeon in the dabbling duck genus Mareca. It is common and widespread within its Palearctic range.

Taxonomy

The Eurasian wigeon was described by Carl Linnaeus in his landmark 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae under the binomial name Anas penelope. Anas is the Latin for "duck", and penelope refers to a duck that was supposed to have rescued Penelope when she was thrown into the sea. Her name derives from Ancient Greek πήνη pene, "braid" and ὤψ ops "appearance", from the ruse she used to deter suitors while her husband Ulysses was absent.

Description

This dabbling duck is 42 – 52 cm long with a 71 – 80 cm wingspan, and a weight of 500 - 1073 g. The breeding male has grey flanks and back, with a black rear end, a dark green speculum and a brilliant white patch on upper wings, obvious in flight or at rest. It has a pink breast, white belly, and a chestnut head with a creamy crown. In non-breeding (eclipse) plumage, the drake looks more like the female. The female is light brown, with plumage much like a female American wigeon. It can be distinguished from most other ducks, apart from American wigeon, on shape. However, that species has a paler head and white axillaries on its underwing. The female can be a rufous morph with a redder head, and a gray morph with a more gray head.

Distribution

It breeds in the northernmost areas of Europe and the Palearctic. It is the Old World counterpart of North America's American wigeon. It is strongly migratory and winters further south than its breeding range. It migrates to southern Asia and Africa. In Great Britain and Ireland, the Eurasian wigeon is common as a winter visitor, but scarce as a breeding bird in Scotland, the Lake District, the Pennines and occasionally further south, with only a handful of breeding pairs in Ireland. It can be found as an uncommon winter visitor in the United States on the mid-Atlantic and Pacific coasts. It is a rare visitor to the rest of the United States except for the Four Corners and the southern Appalachians.

Behaviour and habitat

The Eurasian wigeon is a bird of open wetlands, such as wet grassland or marshes with some taller vegetation, and usually feeds by dabbling for plant food or grazing, which it does very readily. It nests on the ground, near water and under cover. It is highly gregarious outside of the breeding season and will form large flocks. They will join with flocks of the American wigeon in the United States, and they also hybridize with them. This is a noisy species. The male has a clear whistle that sounds like: "pjiew pjiew", whereas the female has a low growl: "rawr".

The Eurasian wigeon is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. Its conservation status is least concern.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Anseriformes
Family
Anatidae
Genus
Mareca
Species
Mareca penelope

Common names

  • Thai: เป็ดปากสั้น, ped pak san

Synonyms

  • Anas penelope, Carolus Linnaeus (1758)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Range Map

Distribution map of Eurasian wigeon, Mareca penelope in Thailand
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Bueng Boraped Non-Hunting Area
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Kamphaeng Saen District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Kantharawichai District, Maha Sarakham
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Mae Chan District, Chiang Rai
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Pattani District, Pattani
  • Mueang Phayao District, Phayao
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-Hunting Area
  • Pak Thale
Range map of Mareca penelope in Thailand