Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Unknown Photographer
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The American widgeon, Anas americana, occurs throughout North America, breeding in the northern United States and Canada, and wintering in the southern United States, Mexico, and Central America. Occasionally, wintering birds reach northern South America. In Utah, migrating birds are common, but breeding populations are scattered and restricted to the northern counties.

This duck is most often found in wetlands, especially those in proximity to grasslands, and it may also be found foraging in agricultural areas. This duck feeds almost entirely on plant materials, including aquatic vegetation and cultivated crops, although aquatic invertebrates are occasionally eaten.

Nesting begins in May or June. Nests are usually located on the ground, sometimes quite a distance from the water, in a shallow depression in dense vegetation. Generally nine to eleven eggs are laid, but sometimes as few as six or as many as thirteen are laid. Males desert the females during incubation, migrating to open water to molt. Females incubate the eggs for 24 or 25 days. Young leave the nest shortly after hatching and become independent after six or seven weeks.


  • Mowbray, T. 1999. American widgeon (Anas americana). Birds of North America 401: 32 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.