In an American wigeon group of both sexes (Anas americana Gmelin), the drake's white cap is very distinctive. It can also be recognized while it flies because of its white axillars. In fact, the drake has a wide white spot on its top feathers. The same spot on the adult female feathers is greyish. The female, without a cap and top feather white spot, displays a grey throat that contrasts with its brown chest. The throat and chest colours are uniform for the american wigeon female.
This dabbler lives in marshes in the west of the continent. It eats while paddling in shallow waters, but it usually likes to graze close-packed grass in prairies and marshes. The american wigeon lives in North America's upcountry: from Alaska to the north rocky part of the United States, in the North West Territories and Yukon. The american wigeon is a species that migrates in early spring just after mallards and northern pintails. During winter, it migrates into British Columbia's littoral zones, the south of the United States, Mexico, and some of Greater Antilles' islands.
The american wigeon female's nest is always well hidden in low vegetation and built on the ground from grass and other ground material. Nevertheless, some predators like crows, skunks, and other egg-lover animals can sometimes find it. Usually, the nest is located close to water, but sometimes it is a little farther. The female sits on its eggs 24 to 25 days. Before the hatching, the american wigeon drake leaves the family nest and flies away to a significantly far away place before starting its moulting, a period during which the bird will not fly. Ducklings can start practicing flying as soon as their 37th day if the weather is consistently sunny as it often is in northern regions, while ducklings in southern regions will first fly after 48 days of life. Soon after the american wigeon ducklings' first flights, the autumn migration begins.
The calls of the drake and the female are alike. It sounds like a low muted grunting repeated three or four times.