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A common duck on the shores of Dorset in winter, multicoloured with a yellow forehead on a maroon head.



Photograph by: 
Ian Ballam

Wigeon: whistle down the wind

Post date: Wednesday, 6 January, 2016 - 00:00

Another common duck on the shores of Dorset in winter is the wigeon (Anas penelope). Breeding in the far north a good number, thousands in fact, come this far south arriving from October onwards before heading back north again in March and April.

Wigeon are lovely little ducks, multicoloured with a yellow forehead on a maroon head but, from a distance, it is the white in the wing and tail that shows up.

The males make a gentle whistling noise which is nothing like a traditional duck 'quack'. Quite often you will hear them before you see them.

Always in large flocks, more often on fresh water than saline and frequently seen grazing on land you will find wigeon on the Fleet, in Poole Harbour and Christchurch Harbour as well as other places like Radipole and Lodmore.



The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Wigeon
Scientific Name Anas penelope
Status Locally common
Interest Level
Species Family Ducks
  • 01 - January
  • 02 - February
  • 03 - March
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
  • 12 - December
Preferred Environment
  • Mudflats
Look for The yellow/orange forehead and black and white tail
Additional Identification Notes
  • Large flocks in their hundreds over winter in the harbours and sheltered water of Dorset
  • They have a unique whistling call and is one of the best features of bleak coastal mudflats in winter
  • The white in the wings and tail is clearly visible from a distance, especially when they fly