Gadwall

Mareca strepera

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

GADW

Code 6

ANASTR

ITIS

Egg Color:

Creamy white.



Number of Eggs:

7 - 15



Incubation Days:

24 - 27



Egg Incubator:

Female



Nest Location:

On ground, near water.



Nest Material:

Lined with down, grass and weeds.



Migration:

Migratory



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General

Gadwall: Large dabbling duck with finely barred gray body, black rump and undertail coverts, white belly and rust-brown shoulders. Head and neck are gray-brown; bill is mid-sized, slender and gray. They have a steep forehead. Wings have black-bordered white speculum most visible in flight. Legs and feet are yellow. Female is mottled brown with dark-spotted orange bill and white speculum visible when swimming. Juvenile resembles female, but darker; eclipse male is similar to female but grayer overall.

Range and Habitat

Gadwall: Breeds near seasonal and semi-permanent wetlands, mainly in the shortgrass, tallgrass, and mixed prairie regions of the U.S. and Canada. Spends winters in southern two-thirds of the U.S., with greatest concentrations found in the Central and Mississippi Flyways; also a common winter visitor to Guatemala. Preferred habitats include large, shallow ponds with lots of marsh plants.

Breeding and Nesting

Gadwall: These birds breed near seasonal and semi-permanent wetlands, mainly in mixed prairie regions and sub-Arctic deltas. Seven to fifteen creamy white eggs are laid in a nest made of grass and weeds, lined with down, and usually hidden in dense weeds or grass near water. Incubation ranges from 24 to 27 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Gadwall: These birds feed on pondweeds, naiads, widgeon grass, watermilfoil, algae, seeds and aquatic invertebrates. They forage in deeper water than most other dabbling ducks. They feed in loose groups of up to several hundred while swimming and picking at the water surface, submerging the head or tipping up.

Vocalization

Gadwall: Utters a high, reedy "quack."

Similar Species

Gadwall: Adult male in breeding plumage is unmistakable.

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Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
RumpX
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
SpeculumX
The brightly colored area on the wing (secondaries of the wing) on several duck species.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X