Drake garganey

Drake garganey ©David Tipling/2020VISION

Garganey

Scientific name: Anas querquedula
This scarce breeding duck is a summer visitor, spending the winter in Africa. Although large flocks can be found in their wintering grounds, they are usually only seen in pairs or small groups in the UK.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 39cm
Wingspan: 62cm
Weight: 380g

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

When to see

March to October

About

The Garganey is a small dabbling duck, slightly larger than a Teal. They spend the winter in central Africa, with small numbers appearing in the UK between March and October. Breeding pairs favour shallow wetlands, mostly in south and central England. They can be very secretive, preferring areas with lots of cover from aquatic plants. Unlike Teal, Garganey rarely upend completely when feeding, preferring just to dip their head or skim the surface with their bill.

How to identify

A small dabbling duck, only slightly larger than a teal. Males are unmistakeable in their breeding plumage, with a brown head and breast, grey flanks and a broad white crescent above the eye. Females are mostly brown, resembling a female teal, but with a longer, all-grey bill and bolder facial markings.

Distribution

Around 100 pairs of Garganey breed in the UK, mostly in central, southern and eastern England. During migration they can turn up almost anywhere. Occasional birds winter in the UK.

Did you know?

The breeding call of a male Garganey is a strange, croaking rattle - it sounds a little like running a fingernail across the teeth of a comb!

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland and coastal nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.