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Spatula querquedula (Linnaeus, 1758) – Garganey

Taxonomic Notes:

Alternative Names: Garganey Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Garganey Duck, Crackling Teal, Cricket Teal, Summer Teal


Breeding season:
April-May, Pair-bonds usually began in winter, even as early as September-October.

It is well concealed depression in wet meadows or grassland. It is made on ground and often lined with plant material, some feathers (sometimes their own). Nest is preferably constructed among grass or reeds near water.

Eggs: 7 to 16 eggs in a clutch. Eggs are creamy buff with a distinct gloss. Size 40–50 mm × 30–36 mm.

Incubation: 21-25 days.

Indian and global distribution:
records (based on images):

Size: Length: 37-41 cm. Wing Span: 58-69 cm.
Distinguishing characters:

Male (breeding): Has a white stripe curving from above eye to nape, contrasting with black-brown forehead and crown, golden-brown foreneck flecked white, black-brown mantle to upper tail-coverts. Scapulars long, glossy black, with a broad white median stripe, wing coverts bluish-grey.

Male (eclipse): More or less like female, but glossier. Bill remains reddish and legs yellow.

Female: Drab-coloured, has a brown head with noticeable whitish eyebrows, white throat, and a distinct dark line from the bill through the eye to nape, underparts dark brown. Wing coverts greyish brown. Speculum similar to male but rather unclear and more olive. Prominent brown-speckled. Bill Dark-grey to black, legs dull grey.

Young/Immature: Resembles female but darker with browner underparts. Lacks the white eyebrow, if present, not distinct.

Similar Species in India
: Males in breeding plumage are distinctive, but females, youngs and males in eclipse plumage are very similar to many other dabbling duck species found in India. Garganey can be best told apart from all other similar species (i.e. Gadwall, Falcated Duck, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Common Teal, Baikal Teal, and Andaman Teal) by its broad white eyebrow and unique colour of its speculum.

Sexual, seasonal & individual variation:

This species is sexually dimorphic. There is also a considerable plumage change across seasons (especially breeding and non-breeding seasons). There however, no distinguishable individual variation that occurs for this species.

Status, Habitat and Habits:

Breeds mostly inland, on swampy meadows, flooded fields and shallow freshwater marshes, pools and small lakes with abundant emergent vegetation, including in farmland. Winters in coastal marshes or lagoons of both fresh and brackish water, provided there is some partially submerged and well-developed fringe vegetation; also, on reservoirs, rice paddies, whereas marine. non-diving duck, though to escape predator. Found in in close-packed flocks.

Foraging Behaviour:
 Garganey is a dabbling duck, it does not dive for foraging, but rather feeds on the surface of water. It is mainly herbivorous and its diet include seeds and tender shoots of marsh plants, grasses and sedges, and grains of wild and cultivated rice. It also feed on water insects, larvae, worms, molluscs, etc.

Usually very silent and vocalizes only during breeding season male gives harsh rattling or crackling note similar to breaking ice, e.g. “rrar ... rrar ... rrar”; female utters low quacking note.

Migration Status:
Migratory, A common winter visitor to all parts of India.

IUCN Status:
Least Concern.


1. Rasmussen, P. C., and J. C. Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Washington, DC.

2. Ali, S., and S. D. Ripley. 1968. Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan: Together with those of Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Ceylon (Vol. 1). Oxford University Press.

Stuart Baker, E. C. 1933. The Nidification of Birds of the Indian Empire. Taylor And Francis.

4. BirdLife International. 2016. Spatula querquedula. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22680313A86016410.

Aves > Anseriformes > Anatidae > Spatula

Cite this page along with its URL as:
Satose, V., and A. Bayani. 2023. Spatula querquedula (Linnaeus, 1758) – Garganey. Satose, V., A. Bayani, V. Ramachandran, P. Roy, and K. Kunte (Chief Editors). Birds of India, v. 2.17. Indian Foundation for Butterflies.
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