A review of the status and identification of American Wigeon in Britain & Ireland

Published on 01 January 2003 in Main articles

ABSTRACT The numbers of American Wigeons Anas americana recorded in Britain & Ireland have increased significantly since the establishment of BBRC in 1958, and records ceased to be considered by the Committee from 1st January 2002.The status and distribution of the species is analysed here, and its identification discussed. Although male American Wigeon in breeding plumage is very distinctive, the identification of other plumages is much more problematic.ecords of American Wigeon Anas americana, previously considered a rare vagrant to Britain & Ireland from North America, have increased considerably since the mid 1980s, and there were 462 accepted records by the end of 2001 (Rogers 2002; P. A. Fraser in litt; note that Irish records until the end of 2000only were available). From 1st January 2002, records of American Wigeon ceased to be assessed by BBRC, since the criteria for its removal from the list of species considered had been met: more than 150 individuals had been recorded in the previous decade, with at least ten in eight of those years. With this in mind, itseems timely to document the status and distribution of the species, particularly given the problems of separating genuine vagrant wildfowl from escapes. In addition, although male American Wigeon in breeding plumage is a relatively easy bird to identify, the identification of females and non-adult males has only recently been approached in a rigorous manner which befits their subtlety (Harrop 1994a). Furthermore, frequent hybridisation between American Wigeon and Eurasian Wigeon A. penelope, or Eurasian Wigeon and Chiloe

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