Where to look for rare overwintering Eurasian Wigeon

1/5/2017 | 0

Eurasian Wigeon at Sacramento NWR, California, February 2014, by Renda Glick.

Eurasian Wigeon at Sacramento NWR, California, February 2014, by Renda Glick.

In On the Move, our regular column about migration, we present pairs of distribution maps from eBird that you can use to compare where interesting birds are at different times of year. We featured Eurasian Wigeon, pictured above, in our January-February 2017 issue.

Eurasian Wigeon


July 2005-15 (left); February 2005-15 (right)

Eurasian Wigeon, one of three species of wigeon worldwide, is rarely found in North America during the breeding season. (The other two species are Chiloé Wigeon, indigenous to South America, and American Wigeon.)

Eurasian Wigeon has yet to be documented here as a breeder, and most of the birds that reach the continent likely originate in Siberia and Iceland. During the nonbreeding season (right map), wigeon normally occur singly or in small flocks, although groups of several hundred have been recorded while staging in the spring.

Wintering individuals occur along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, from southern Alaska to northern Baja California and from Newfoundland south to Florida. Important concentrations also occur in the Pacific lowlands from southern British Columbia to the Central Valley in California. Individuals turn up regularly inland and should be looked for in groups of American Wigeon.

See eBird’s real-time distribution map for Eurasian Wigeon.

See photos of Eurasian Wigeon.

Birding hotspots to seek out in Washington and New Jersey.

eBird is the real-time online checklist operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. On the Move is written by eBird’s Garrett MacDonald, Chris Wood, Marshall Iliff, and Brian Sullivan. Submit your bird sightings at ebird.org.

A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the January-February 2017 issue of BirdWatching.


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