An American wigeon stands in the water, spreading its wings, among a flock of Eurasian wigeon in Shenzhen Bay on Sunday. Pu Ying
Birdwatchers spotted an American wigeon (Anas americana) among a flock of Eurasian wigeons (Anas penelope) in Shenzhen Bay Park on Saturday, Shenzhen Evening News reported.
The discovery made a splash among birdwatchers as American wigeon is a species of dabbling duck commonly found in North America but rare in China.
Pure American wigeon has only be recorded three times before in China: Xiamen (November 2013), Hong Kong (January 2016) and Beijing (March 2020), according to Pu Ying, one of the birdwatchers who successfully photographed the American wigeon in Shenzhen Bay.
Some birdwatchers in the country even took trains to Shenzhen to see the duck, according to the report.
Anas americana, commonly referred to as the American wigeon, is a large dabbling duck which normally grows to 43 to 55 centimeters long.
American wigeon is classified with other wigeons like Eurasian wigeon in the dabbling duck genus Anas. Many people do not notice their differences and treat them all as wild ducks.
According to Pu, hybridization is common in the duck family, and American and Eurasian wigeons also have hybrids. Many hybrid ducks are found staying in Shenzhen Bay Park during winter.
Pu said that on Saturday, someone photographed the American wigeon. Next morning, on the way to find the duck, Pu met other birdwatchers who told her that they saw an American wigeon via monocular telescope, but the duck disappeared when it approached west.
Pu and her companions finally located the American wigeon among a flock of ducks resting, after conducting sweeping search at the park area.
Pu suggested it is also difficult to distinguish an American wigeon from a Eurasian wigeon in the wild. In general, an American wigeon’s head color is cold-toned while a Eurasian widgeon is warm-toned.
Another difference is American wigeon has white feathers while Eurasian Widgeon has gray feathers under their armpits. The difference is discernable when they take off or flapping wings.