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Female wigeon ID, Pennsylvania, USA - 5 Feb. (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
United States
Hello all,

I'm appealing to the European crowd to ask if there's enough in my photos to call a female Eurasian Wigeon. I've looked at multiple resources, including this great article that I think has been referenced before on this forum (http://www.azfo.org/gallery/EUWI_article_ BirdingVol37No2.pdf). I took a look at both the Sibley and Collins guides, to see what is listed from each perspective. I feel that there's enough to strongly consider Eurasian Wigeon, but very few females are claimed here and my photos are not stellar. I never saw the bird's underwing to check for the color.

Photos are distant, digiscoped at 60x zoom at a range of about 550-700ft, but I feel they show several features that point to Eurasian Wigeon:

Very cinnamon head that is noticeably darker and richer than the chest and back
Low contrast between rufous flanks, gray-brown mantle/wings, and brown head
Less patterning in scapulars and other upperpart feathers than in surrounding American Wigeon females
At several angles, the bird seems to show a smaller head than American Wigeon, with a flatter crown (as opposed to more smoothly rounded AMWI head that features a bulge above the eyes)
No black line or spot visible where the bill meets the head (this feature does NOT clinch EUWI but the presence of a black line/spot would have pointed strongly away from EUWI)

Note that AMWI and EUWI refer to their respective wigeon species, as abbreviations.

I can provide crops (and may do so) of certain photos to demonstrate bill markings, head/chest contrast, etc.. Feel free to edit photos as you wish.

Is this a bird that you would not hesitate to call a female Eurasian if seen in its normal range? Thanks for any help you folks can provide.


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It’s definitely ticking some boxes vis a vis head colouring (noting too a less conspicuous eye patch) and structure but to be honest, the images lack a necessary clarity for me. Also, I am not sure how you would rule out a hybrid on these images either!? Perhaps Joern might see your post an offer some insight.
Thank you Deb for taking a stab. Hybridization is possible, no doubt, but many more pure males are seen here than hybrid males. Unfortunately the bird hasn't returned. It's not a PORC Review List bird (same function as BBRC, I think), but would be a 2nd or 3rd county record as far as I know. Thanks anyway, and perhaps you're right that it's just not clear enough to tell.
I took a look earlier and agree with Deb and the same conclusions anent a possible hybrid, but I have zero experience with hybrids of these two and agree that hopefully Joern has a look at them.
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