wigeon defined in 1930 yearwigeon - Wigeon;
wigeon - Bill dull blue; forehead and crown cream-white; chin, neck, and throat chestnut; the cheeks and hind neck minutely spotted with deep green; breast white; under parts grey, the flanks pencilled with dark grey; mantle vermiculated grey; shoulder white, with a terminal bar of black, followed by a green speculum tipped with black below; wing- and tail-feathers dark brown; legs and feet dark brown. Length, eighteen inches. Female: above, mottled greyish brown; shoulder whitish; speculum greyish green; under parts mottled buffish white. The drake assumes female plumage in July.
Next to the mallard, the wigeon is the most familiar freshwater duck in the British Islands. Its abundance, handsome plumage, peculiar voice, and interesting habits, to say nothing of its excellence as an article of food, contribute to make it well known. It is a visitor in winter in very large numbers to our coasts, and seeks its food both on the tidal flats and on inland waters throughout the country, but is always most abundant in the vicinity of the sea. In April and May it migrates to higher latitudes: in Scotland it is partly a resident species, and breeds in many localities; and, in less numbers, it also remains to breed in Ireland. The wigeon differs a good deal from other ducks in its feeding habits: it feeds both by day and night, in the water and on land. On land it is, like the goose, a grass-eater, and in Lapland is known from this habit as the 'grass-duck.' In disposition it is one of the shyest and wariest, and at the same time the most gregarious, among the waterfowl, and often unites in immense flocks. It is also very loquacious: its loud, prolonged whistle in two syllables, strongly accented on the first, is described by Seebohm as being ' very wild and weird, as it startles the ear on the margin of a mountain tarn or moorland lake - a solitary cry, very high in key, not unmusical in tone, but loud and piercing.' It is called ' whew duck ' in some localities, from its whistling cry.
The nest is placed amidst coarse grass or heather, and is deeply lined with down. The eggs are seven to ten in number, and cream- coloured.
A few specimens of the American wigeon (Mareca americana) have been obtained in various parts of Great Britain.
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