The Chiloe Wigeon, scientifically known as Anas sibilatrix, is a species of dabbling duck found in South America. It is also known as the Southern Wigeon, and it is native to Chile, Argentina, and the Falkland Islands. These ducks are relatively small, reaching a length of around 53cm and a weight of 700g in males. The females are slightly smaller and have more subdued plumage.
The Chiloe Wigeon gets its name from the Chiloe Island in the Chilean archipelago where it was discovered. It is mostly found near the coastal areas, freshwater lakes, lagoons, and estuaries. These birds are social creatures and often form flocks during non-breeding periods. They are energetic swimmers and spend most of their time foraging for food in the water. Their diet typically includes aquatic invertebrates, grasses, and seeds.
The males have a unique appearance, which makes them easy to recognize. They have a bright chestnut-colored head, a white patch on their crown, and a greenish-black neck that blends into their grey plumage. They have a distinctive black bill, and their wings have iridescent green patches, making them more attractive. On the other hand, the females are less showy; they have a greyish-brown head, a mottled brown plumage, and a bluish-grey bill. Both sexes have a characteristic whistling call, which is different from that of other duck species.
The Chiloe Wigeon birds are monogamous and form breeding pairs during the mating season. The breeding season takes place during the austral spring and summer. The females lay between six and nine eggs, three to five times in a year. The nest is often concealed in dense vegetation near water bodies. The eggs hatch after an incubation period of approximately four weeks, and the hatchlings are cared for by both parents. The young birds fledge within 55 to 60 days after hatching.
The Chiloe Wigeon birds are not endangered. They are widely distributed and abundant in their range, and they have adapted to living in human-modified habitats. Humans hunt these ducks for sport and food, but their populations remain stable. Conservation efforts should continue to maintain and monitor their habitats to prevent over-exploitation and the spread of diseases that can affect their populations. The Chiloe Wigeon is a fascinating bird species that is a joy to observe for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.