Forehead yellowish white; rest of the head, and neck, chestnut-red: back and flanks undulated with black and white.
Anas Penelope, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. ii. p. 840. Wigeon, Mont. Orn. Diet, & Supp. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 350. Common Wigeon, Selb. Illust. vol. it. p. 324. pl. 52. (Trachea,) Linn. Trans, vol. iv. pl. 13. f. 9.
Entire length twenty inches: length of the bill (from the forehead) one inch six lines, (from the gape) one inch nine lines; of the tarsus one inch six lines; of the tail three inches ten lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing ten inches three lines.
(Male). Forehead and crown cream-yellow; rest of the head, and upper part of the neck, chestnut-red, the cheeks speckled with black; throat black; lower part of the neck, and breast, vinaceous red: back and flanks marked with transverse undulating lines of black and white; scapulars black, edged with white; wing-coverts white, some of the lesser ones nearest the body pale grayish brown: quills cinereous brown: speculum composed of three bars, the middle one glossy green, the upper and under ones black: belly and abdomen white: tail cuneiform; the two middle feathers pointed, and considerably longer than the others; of a blackish gray colour: under tail-coverts black: bill bluish gray, the tip black: irides hazel: legs dusky lead-colour. (Female). Head and neck rufous brown, speckled with dusky; back and scapulars dusky brown, the feathers with reddish edges; wing-coverts brown, edged with whitish; speculum without the gloss of dark green: breast, belly, and abdomen, much as in the male: flanks rufous brown, the tips of the feathers inclining to ash-gray: bill and legs dusky gray. Obs. This species appears to be subject to considerable variation of plumage. In very old males, according to Temminck, the forehead alone is yellowish white, this colour not extending over the crown. Young males of the year resemble the female. (Egg). Brownish white: long. diam. two inches; trans, diam. one inch seven lines.
A winter visitant of common occurrence in most parts of the country. Frequents rivers and marshes, as well as inlets of the sea. Keeps in flocks, and has a peculiar whistling note. Breeds in the north of Europe, and is said to lay eight or nine eggs. Food, aquatic insects and vegetables, mollusca, and small fish. In confinement, has been known to breed with the Pintail and the Common Duck.