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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, M. & W. von Wright (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Garganey

Anas querquedula

  • Family: Waterfowl – Anatidae
  • Appearance: A small teal-sized duck. Birds other than males in breeding plumage resemble female Teals, but their wing panels are grey rather than green. Their wings are grey above, with pale stripes clearly visible behind their wing panels. Beaks longish and entirely grey. Breeding males have brown heads with a broad curved eye stripe.
  • Size: Length 37–41 cm, wingspan 59–67 cm, weight 300–400 g.
  • Nest: In grassy vegetation, often with a passage leading to the nest. Lined with darkish downy feathers.
  • Breeding: Lays 8–10 eggs in May. Only females incubate, for 21–23 days. Ducklings learn to fly within 5–7 weeks, and leave nest fairly soon to search for food, but typically stay together as a brood with their mother.
  • Distribution: Relatively scarce breeder in Finland, found on nutrient-rich lakes. Only breeds regularly south of a line from the Bothnian Bay to North Karelia. Finnish breeding population estimated at 1,300–5,000 pairs. Declining in numbers.
  • Migration: Migrates by night. Flies south in August–September, returns in April-May. Winters in southern Europe and Africa.
  • Diet: Plants, invertebrates.
  • Calls: Males in spring make a rattling call “errrrr” (like the teeth of a comb). Females have a croaking call similar to teals.
  • Endangerment: Endangered, protected. Game bird. Globally Least concern.

Garganeys are smallish dabbling ducks, slightly larger and stockier than Teals. Breeding males can be distinguished by their reddish-brown heads marked with a broad white eye stripe that curves down towards their necks. Their heads and throats have dense white streaky markings. There is a distinct border between their dark brownish breasts and paler greyish flanks. The leading edges of their wings are mainly pale grey, and their wing panels are pale green edged with white. In June males shed their breeding plumage and start to resemble females, though the leading edges of their wings remain paler blue-grey than those of females.

Female and immature Garganeys resemble female Teals, through they are slightly paler overall and have larger streaks on their plumage and more distinct eye stripes. They also have a second less distinct stripe beneath their eyes, and a distinct pale patch by their beaks (this patch is less clear and more brownish on teals). Garganeys’ wings are slate grey, their beaks are black (male) or greenish-grey with dark spots on the edge of the upper mandible (female). They have brown irises.

Other species from the same genus
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