male gadwall


Mareca strepera

CLASS Aves | ORDER Anseriformes | FAMILY Anatidae

RANGE North America

HABITAT Breeds mainly in the Great Plains and Canadian prairies; on migration and in winter, found in fresh and salt water marshes and well-vegetated reservoirs, beaver ponds, farm ponds, and streams

DIET Aquatic vegetation such as algae, grasses, rushes, sedges, pondweed, widgeon grass, and water milfoil; also invertebrates

2 lbs

20 in

33 in

24 - 27 days

7 - 12 eggs

IUCN Status
Least Concern
gadwalls flying

Males are intricately patterned with gray, brown, and black. The male's narrow bill is mostly blackish. Females often loo square-headed with a steep forehead. Females resemble female mallars, but with a thinner, darker bill. The female's bill is orange with dusky saddle. Both sexes have a white wing patch that is sometimes visible while swimming or resting.

This species is a dabbling duck, tipping forward to feed on submerged vegetation without diving.

At hatching, babies are alert, fully covered with down and eyes open. They are ready to leave the nest in a day or two.