The American widgeon is one of several dabbling ducks that winter in the Chesapeake Bay. Widgeons are among the first ducks to leave the estuary as they migrate back to Canada to breed.
They are often seen together with mallards, black ducks, teal, pintails, and other dabbling ducks, foraging on submerged aquatic vegetation.
American widgeon drakes are recognized by their unique head plumage and reddish flanks. Females are duller but otherwise similar. Both sexes have light blue bills, trimmed in black.
During their breeding phase, American widgeon drakes have light foreheads, green eye patches, and gray and black barring. Head coloration often varies among individuals.
These colorful ducks are recognized in flight by their body size and bill. Drakes can be recognized by their white wing patch.