Gadwall (anas strepera)

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The Gadwall is a dabbling duck that also dives for food. It obtains most of its food in the typical puddle duck position with tail up and head down, however is also capable of diving deep below the surface for roots and tubers. Diet consists mainly of leaves and stems of aquatic plants. Because of their size and appearance, gadwalls are sometimes called Gray Ducks or Gray Mallards.

 

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  • Description. 18 ½-23″ Males: mostly gray with a distinctive black rump. Overall gray with pale belly, white wing patches, black tail coverts and pale chestnut on wings. Female: mottled brown that resembles female Mallard except belly is white, and upper mandible gray with orange sides.


  • Field Marks. Feeding habits different than other puddle ducks because it also dives. In flight: both sexes identified by white belly, white wing patches, and wing linings with dark feathers. More streamlined in flight than Mallard but not as sleek as Pintail.


  • Voice. Males: whistle-like calls and kack-kack. Females: quack.


  • Range. Widespread in North America, particularly west of Mississippi River. Breeds from southern Alaska, western and south-central Canada to the Great Lakes and the western and midwestern United States. Winters across southern half of the United States.


  • Habitat. Freshwater marshes, ponds and rivers. Saltwater marshes in some areas.

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