The Gadwall (Mareca strepera) is a medium-sized duck species belonging to the family Anatidae. It is found in parts of North America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The Gadwall is known for its distinctive plumage, which includes a gray-brown body with a black patch near the tail.
The Gadwall measures around 46-56 centimeters (18-22 inches) in length, with a wingspan of approximately 81-95 centimeters (32-37 inches). The male has a distinctive plumage during breeding season, with a brown head and neck, a black bill, and a grey-brown body. The female has a mottled brown and grey plumage.
The Gadwall feeds primarily on aquatic plants, such as pondweeds and watermilfoils, as well as small invertebrates, such as snails and insects. The bird is able to dive to depths of up to 1 meter (3.3 feet) to find food.
Reproduction and Lifecycle:
The breeding season for the Gadwall typically occurs between April and July, depending on the location. These birds breed in wetland habitats, such as marshes and lakes. They build a shallow scrape in the ground, which they line with grass and other vegetation.
The female lays 6 to 12 eggs, which are incubated by the female for around 23-28 days. After hatching, the chicks are able to leave the nest almost immediately and are able to feed themselves within a few hours of hatching. The young birds are able to fly at around 6-7 weeks old and become fully independent within a few weeks of fledging.
The Gadwall is currently listed as a species of “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to its wide distribution and stable population. However, the bird could face potential threats from habitat loss due to wetland drainage and other human activities. Conservation efforts focus on habitat preservation, monitoring populations, and reducing disturbances to nesting sites to ensure the long-term survival of the species.