The male Wigeon is quite a colourful duck with a chestnut head and neck, a yellow forehead, a pink flushed breast and white under belly, which is quite distinctive in flight along with bold white wing patches. The body is round and grey, with a black and white stern. It has a dark green speculum. The beak is short, black-tipped and greyish. The female is less colourful with mottled greyish to rusty-brown plumage, and maybe confused with a female Mallard.
They feed on short grass, and also on aquatic plants, shoots, roots and seeds. The nest is made in long vegetation on the ground and near water. The female lays 8 to 9 eggs in 1 brood from April to July. They can live for up to 15 years.
The Wigeon form fairly close flocks on water or on the side of banks, and can be quite a colourful sight. They are quite a shy bird and will fly off when approached. It can be seen on estuaries, reservoirs and freshwater marshes when more widespread in winter. Large flocks also winter on the coast. Seen all year round, and fairly widespread, and especially abundant in winter.
Photographs taken February 2013, nature reserve, Staffordshire. Camera Nikon Coolpix P500. © Pete Hillman 2013.