Belongs to: dabbling ducks

Gadwall Anas strepera

BoCC Amber list

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Rather nondescript grey and brown duck, often overlooked

Breeding habitat: freshwater marshes, estuaries, gravel pits and reservoirs; coast and estuary in winter

Common and widespread resident, a number nesting in Essex on coastal marshes, reservoirs and lakes


Male, grey body and head with black rear end; female mottled brown with orange on bill; show white in wing in flight; 50 cm

Dabbles in reeds or up-ends to feed on aquatic vegetation; rapid direct flight


Nest is a hollow in thick cover by water, lined with leaves, sedges and down

One brood of 8-12 creamy eggs, laid in May and incubated by duck only, who also tends the ducklings

Main breeding areas are E. Europe, Iceland and S. Scandinavia

© Gerald Downey

© Alan Williams