One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A dabbling duck with mainly reddish-brown and gray plumage, the male having a whistling call.
Genus Anas, family Anatidae: several species, in particular the American wigeon (A. americana)and the Eurasian wigeon (A. penelope)
- ‘Where once there were acres of grain, there are now acres of barnacle geese; where sheep once grazed, there are widgeon and teal; lapwing and redshanks have replaced the cattle; his new crops are spoonbills, snipe, skylarks and linnets.’
- ‘My first sighting was of large numbers of pink-footed geese and wigeon along with some ringed plover and shelduck.’
- ‘Where the trail hugs the edge of the slough, watch for waterfowl - pintails, green-winged teals, and widgeons - and listen for the machine-gun rattle of belted kingfishers.’
- ‘Bird species like garganey, gadwall, mallard, shoveller, pintail and wigeon use the lake in transit.’
- ‘Females during the breeding season and the young eat many aquatic invertebrates, but aside from that, wigeons are plant-eaters.’
Early 16th century: perhaps of imitative origin and suggested by pigeon.
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