The Garganey Duck (Spatula querquedula) is a small dabbling duck. It is a wetlands bird.
The Garganey male has a brown head, brown chest, and a broad white crescent over its eye. The rest of its feathers are grey. It has a grey beak and grey legs. The female is brown.
It measures about 48 centimetres (19 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 76 centimetres (30 inches).
The Garganey is native to Europe and western Asia. It prefers grasslands, marshlands, and steppe lakes.
It is a migratory bird, flying south to Africa and India in winter.
These birds feed mainly by skimming rather than upending (with its tail in the air). It feeds on aquatic animals, snails, and insects. Its beak acts like a filter as it strains the water for food. The filters on its beak are not teeth – they are lamellae, which are small, comb-like structures.
The Garganey prefers to nest in grassy areas away from open water. Its nest is a shallow depression on the ground, lined with plant material and soft downy feathers.
The female lays about 9 eggs. The male, called a drake, is territorial during breeding season and will defend its territory and partner from competing males.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM