Sunday 7 December 2014

American Wigeon x Chiloe Wigeon

possible American Wigeon x Chiloe Wigeon hybrid, Paderborn (Northrhine-Westfalia, Germany), 4th November 2012 - copyright Joern Lehmhus
(photo ID: 1654)

Or as Joern described it himself, unusual American Wigeon, probably with Chiloe Wigeon genes.  Perhaps that's a better way of describing it as what this probably isn't is a first-generation hybrid offspring of a pairing between an American Wigeon and a Chiloe Wigeon.  If we're right in thinking Chiloe Wigeon genes are present, you will probably have to go further back than one generation to find the Chiloe Wigeon ancestor.  It looks too much like an American Wigeon.

Wrong for pure American Wigeon, I think, is the head pattern.  On American Wigeon the pale cream stripe extends from the forehead back to the centre of the crown, further back than on this bird.  It also lacks the warm orangey tones that seem to be present on this bird.  Other than that the bird is very close to American Wigeon, although a further discrepancy I think I can detect in one or two of the photos is pale whitish edges to some of the long scapulars.  That's a feature that could indeed point to Chiloe Wigeon influence.

possible American Wigeon x Chiloe Wigeon hybrid (same bird as in photo ID 1654 above), Paderborn (Northrhine-Westfalia, Germany), 4th November 2012 - copyright Joern Lehmhus
(photo IDs: 1655-1658)

American Wigeon Anas americana
Chiloe Wigeon Anas sibilatrix


  1. What do you think of this bird: I am thinking Am. Wigeon x Ch. Wigeon but am interested to hear your opinion. Thanks!
    More -not necesserily better- pictures can be found here:

  2. Hi Edwin - I was a bit slow seeing this. It looks interesting! The problem is Eurasian x Chiloe Wigeon hybrids can often quite closely resemble American Wigeons. Such an orangey colour on the flanks on a drake American Wigeon look-alike can betray Chiloe Wigeon ancestry. However this bird isn't in full 'basic' plumage and if these are retained eclipse/juv feathers then that might be ok for pure American? But the dark tips to the breast feathers, which seem to have white bases on the sides of the breast, might suggest Chiloe Wigeon influence; I think I may also be able to make out some white edges to the rear scapulars which may also betray Chiloe genes. I'm not completely sure on this one to be honest - I'd like to see how it looks once it has progressed its moult a bit further.

  3. Hi Edwin, Hi Dave,
    I´d consider this as a hybrid with Chiloe wigeon genes. How advanced the bird is and if this is close to the full plumage yet is difficult to say. Therefore I´d also be carefull concerning which northern wigeon species is involved.
    But the already visible, pale edged, very pointed, markedly dark centered rear scapulars indicate that this is most likely a male Chiloe wigeon hybrid.


  4. Hi, it seems Chiloe influence is almost unavoidable :(. Better luck next time. The bird is still present so better pics might show up and it would be fun to see how it will look at the end of this winter, assuming it will stay that long. Thanks for your help!