While most dabbling ducks are denizens of the shallows, American Wigeons (Anas americana) 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.
Wigeons feed mostly on plant material. They eat aquatic plants such as pondweeds, sedges wild celery, eelgrass, algae. They also eat some insects and snails. On land, they graze on young grass shoots and consumes seeds and waste grains. Very young ducklings eat many insects. They may feed by day or night.
Distribution & Habitats
American wigeons prefer marshes, lakes, bays, and fields. In summer they are mainly seen on inland marshes, especially larger marshes, not often at small ponds. In migration and winter, they migrate to coastal estuaries, fresh or salt marshes, inland lakes and ponds. They may winter on large deep lakes. Wigeons are abundant and widespread, particularly in the West. The American Wigeon population seems stable.
Wigeons build their nests on dry land, sometimes on an island, usually within 100 feet of water but sometimes up to 1/2 mile away. The nest (built by female) is a shallow depression filled with grasses and weeds, lined with down. Males usually depart before the eggs hatch. Females remain with brood for much of their preflight stage.