Be on the lookout for three dabbling ducks winging through Missouri, the American wigeon, northern pintail, and gadwall. These spring and fall visitors can be seen foraging in shallow waters around the state. You may even see them poaching food from the bills of diving ducks when they surface.
Wigeons are popular hunting ducks. The males stand out for their white crown, green eye-band, and whistle call.
Pintails are fast flyers with a zig-zag approach to landing. Males have a pointed tail and whistle, while females quack and have pointed wings.
Gadwalls have drabber looks but are a hunter’s favorite. Like other dabblers, they can lift straight up from the water for flight.
Wetland preservation helps maintain healthy duck populations. Fall is a great time to visit wetlands and watch the waterfowl migration. Check out the video below to see the differences between dabblers and divers. And scroll through the media gallery to hear all three dabblers in action.
To discover more about the wigeon, visit the MDC’s Field Guide.