Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
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ANECDOTES

  American Wigeon
 
 

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  Order Anseriformes - Waterfowl
   Family Anatidae - Ducks, Geese, and Swans
      Subfamily Anatinae - True Ducks
         Tribe Anatini - Dabbling Ducks
  Waterfowl vary in size - from teal to swans. They all have webbed feet and dense, waterproof plumage. Most nest on the ground and the nest is lined with down plucked by the female from her breast. Except for two small groups not found in North America, all belong to one (or two) families.
Ducks, Geese, and Swans are waterfowl with their bill finely serrated or grooved on the edge. Their tongue is fleshy. Their front toes are webbed. Males have a functional penis. They are strong fliers and many migrate long distances. 
True Ducks are sexually dimorphic. The female incubates and cares for the young - the male usually deserts early. Ducks undergo a simultaneous molt of their flight feathers and are flightless until the flight feathers of the alternate plumage regrow. Thus, males wear their nuptial plumage on the winter grounds where pair formation occurs in most species. 
Dabbling Ducks all belong to the genus Anas. They feed on or near the surface or "upend," tilting their body vertically to feed on aquatic vegetation.     
     
     
  American Wigeon (Baldpate), Anas americana 
 
   Cornell    USGS     Wiki     ToL     EoL
        WINTER - Occasional /  Rare                             
            LARGE MARSHES, SHALLOW LAKES, BAYS, FIELDS
MORE PICTURES
 
   The American Wigeon has a small gray bill. Males have a white forehead and head and a cluster of green feathers extending from the eye back the side of the head. The body is a reddish-brown and the belly is white. Males have a green speculum and white wing coverts. Females have the reddish-brown body and white-belly of the male. This species is also known as the Baldpate...
American Wigeon
     
American Wigeon. Anchorage, AK
Photo by Ed Konrad
   
  RANGE: They breed broadly across sub-Arctic Canada from Newfoundland to the west coast of Alaska and south into the central plains. They winter from central parts of the country to the coast and south to northern South America.
  BREEDING: Monogamous. One brood. They may begin nesting later than most dabblers. They may nest on dry land but usually within 100 feet of water. The nest (built by the female) is concealed, filled with grass and plant stems and down is added as incubation proceeds. The female builds the nest. They lay 8-11 eggs (5-12). Incubation is by the female and takes 23-25 days. Chicks are precocial and leave the nest shortly after hatching. The female remains with her brood for much of their preflight life. Young fly 37-49 (45-63) days after hatching.
  DIET: American Wigeons spend much of their time grazing on land. They also swim in deep water where they steal food from other birds such as coots and diving ducks. Their diet is mostly plant material. On land they feed on grass shoots, seeds, and waste grain.
  VOICE: Female quack a low, harsh "rred."
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Kiawah - rare spring and fall, occasional winter
      Coastal - common winter visitor. Hilton Head - fairly common winter visitor. Cape Romain - common/absent/abundant/abundant.
         Huntington Beach
- common October - March; uncommon April
      Caw Caw - uncommon/absent/uncommon/uncommon. ACE - occasional/absent/rare/uncommon.
   CBC: ACE 650, 2273, 630, 1017, 370, 584, 244, 1407; Charleston 354, 125, 400, 10, 0, 31, 23, 25;
            Hilton Head 0, 0, 17, 0, 4, 3, 0, 4;
            McClellanville 1070, 1552, 891, 1048, nc, 635, 284, 715; Winyah Bay x, x, 7622, 392, 164, 547, 1667, 2018;
               Litchfield/Pawley's 12, 8, 3, 215, 1020, 11, 2, 4.
   P&G: Common winter visitor, very common migrant coastal plain. Maximum 32,000 Santee NWR, January 1977. Dates: 9 September - 18 June.
   Avendex: only 3 reports.
   Potter: Common winter resident, especially along the coast. Despite numerous June records, there is no evidence of breeding in the state.
  ●   I haven't seen a baldpate (wigeon) on the island but we lack dabbler habitat. A stray bird is possible over winter or during migration. Rare.
       
    Banner - American Wigeons (male and female) with three American Black Ducks. Blue Hole, Castalia, OH. This wonderful winter habitat is no longer available to the public.
       
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