Encyclopedia > Garganey

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Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Anas
Species: querquedula
Binomial name
Anas querquedula
The Garganey, Anas querquedula, is the smallest dabbling duck. It breeds in much of Europe and western Asia, but is strictly migratory, with the entire population moving to Africa in winter, where large flocks can occur.

Like other small ducks such as teal, this species rises easily from the water with a fast twisting wader-like flight.

Their breeding habitat is grassland adjacent to shallow marshes and steppe lakes.

The adult male is unmistakeable, with its brown head and breast with a broad white crescent over the eye. The rest of the pumage is grey, with loose grey scapular feathers It has a grey bill and legs. In flight it shows a pale blue speculum.

Some care is needed in separating the brown female from the similar Common Teal, but the stronger face markings and more frequent head-shaking when dablling are good indicators. Confusion with the female of the rare Blue-winged Teal is also possible, but the head and bill shape is different, and the latter species has yellow legs.

These birds feed mainly by skimming rather than upending.

The male has a distinctive crackling mating call; the female is rather silent for a female duck, but can manage a feeble "quack".

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