- Mareca strepera
46-58 cm (18-22 in)
- Yellowish-orange legs
- Small white patch on hind-wing
- White belly, visible in flight
- Greyish body
- Noticeable vermiculations on breast
- Brownish tertials
- Black stern
- Brown plumage, mottled and streaked
- Orange sides to bill
Female is easily confused with the slightly larger female Mallard. Look for white patch on hindwing and orange edges to the bill.
Breeding range very patchy and discontinuous in most of Europe. Scattered pockets in Iceland, the British Isles and in most Continental countries from western France to Russia where it becomes more widespread and the range is more continuous. Absent from Scandinavia, except a small part of east Sweden, and from much of the Mediterranean region but small numbers breed in Morocco and Iberia, Italy, the Balkans and Turkey. Some populations, as in Britain, are descended from introduced stock. Recently bred for the first time in the Channel Islands. Breeds widely across temperate Asia to northern China and may breed on Hokkaido. In North America breeds in central and southern Alaska, western and south-central Canada and the north-central and western USA south to California and Texas.
Resident in much of western European range, except Icelandic birds which winter in Britain, but from central Europe to Asia mainly a summer visitor. In winter becomes more widespread in Britain, western Europe and around the Mediterranean.
Winters in small numbers in North Africa, notably in Tunisia and in the Nile Valley, rarely south of the Sahara. North American birds winter throughout southern half of USA and south to Guatemala.
Formerly placed in the genus Anas.
There are 2 subspecies:
- M. s. strepera:
- Widespread Palearctic and Nearctic regions
- M. s. couesi:
- Formerly Fanning Islands (central Pacific). Extinct ca 1874
Breeding: well vegetated swamps and lakes in open lowland areas.
Non-breeding: often on reservoirs and gravel pits, locally also on estuaries.
A fresh-water surface-feeding duck; very gregarious.
Their vegetarian diet consists of the seeds, leaves, roots and the stems of aquatic plants.
Call: a wheezy whistle.
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- Birdwatchers Pocket Guide ISBN 1-85732-804-3
- Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds 1966
- Collins Field Guide 5th Edition ISBN 0 00 219900 9
- Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved June 2015)
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2023) Gadwall. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 9 June 2023 from https://www.birdforum.net/opus/Gadwall
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