Mareca Penelope

What do they look like?

A duck of medium size with a small grey bill tipped with black and a round head. Males are coloured differently from females. Male wigeons have pointed black tails, a grey body, pinkish chest, a creamy-coloured forehead and a chestnut-coloured head and neck. In flight their tails look greyer, they have white undersides and an obvious white patch is visible on their wings with a greenish-black patch behind. Females are browner, darker and more mottled, though their body shape is very similar.

When can I see them in Scotland?

Large numbers arrive in Britain and Ireland over winter. They usually begin arriving in October and depart in Spring. However, a small population of breeding birds can be seen in central and northern Scotland during the summer.

Where can I see them in Scotland?

Wigeons winter in vast numbers on the coast, primarily on coastal marshes such as saltmarshes. In the summer they can be found in northern and central Scotland around the freshwater rivers, lakes and lochs where they nest in the surrounding vegetation and feed on seeds, roots, stems and leaves.

Conservation status

In the UK, bird species with breeding, passage or wintering populations are assessed by experts and assigned to Red, Amber or Green lists of conservation concern. Rock Pipits are currently an ‘amber’ listed species.

75 – 86 cm
8 - 9
24 days
40 days
3 years
Average Lifespan

A couple of wigeons standing in a field of short green grass
(c) Susan Davies