British Waterfowl Association

Garganey

Garganey swimming
Garganey drake — Jed Dwight

Female Garganey are similar in size to Eurasian Teal Anas crecca, but have a stripy face and no white streak under the tail.


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Spatula querquedula

The Garganey is sometimes called the Summer Teal: they are a scarce summer visitor to the UK. Sometimes they can be spotted as migrants among flocks of teal.

Their home is open areas across Europe and Asia; shallow freshwater lakes with extensive fringe vegetation, marshes, flooded fields and swampy meadows. They winter on coastal lagoons and marshes, inshore waters and open freshwater lakes in sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian sub-continent and South-east Asia.

Garganey drake — Mark Hulme

Garganey are charming little dabbling birds, perhaps sometimes underrated because they are so shy. They are hardy, but shelters and/or good ground cover should be provided for protection in prolonged or severe frost. These ducks are easy to manage, and suitable for mixed collections but because they are quiet and shy, they may be bullied.

Any disturbance, particularly from us, can interfere with the breeding process. Dense cover and seclusion, without competition, should be provided. Nests in areas of grass or low-growing plants can often be at a distance from water.

Garganey lay April to May, with replacement clutches sometimes laid as late as June if the eggs are removed. 8 or 9 pale straw-coloured eggs are incubated for 21–23 days. They are very sensitive to disturbance while sitting. If the duck thinks she has been spotted, she may well desert. Foster broody or machine incubation is often more successful in a mixed collection. Ducklings are not difficult to rear; they start feeding easily, but need care and protection when young. Starter crumbs with greens such as clean duckweed or chopped spinach work well.