Anas americana (left: female; right: male)
A common and increasingly abundant duck, the American Wigeon breeds in northwestern North America and is found throughout the rest of the continent in migration and in winter. The American Wigeon was formerly known as Baldpate because the white stripe resembled a bald mans head.
While most dabbling ducks are denizens of the shallows, American Wigeon spend much of their time in flocks grazing on land. They also spend more time than other marsh ducks on deep water, where they get most of their food by stealing it from other birds such as coots or diving ducks.
They build their nests on dry land, sometimes on island, usually within 100 feet of water but sometimes up to 1/2 mile away. The nest (built by the female) is a shallow depression filled with grasses and weeds, lined with down. The male usually departs before eggs hatch, whereas the female remains with the brood for much of their preflight stage.
The above picture was taken at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, in March 2004.
Life on Earth