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< >  Anas querquedula - Garganey (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Summer teal
Knäkente (German)
Sarcelle d’eté (French)
Cerceta carretona (Spanish)
Cerceta (Spanish)
Zomertaling (Dutch)
Årta (Swedish)
Querquedula querquedula
Querquedula circia

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases


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Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B2, B3, B5, B8, B19, B25, B26, B27.

Other references:

Aviculture references:
B7, B29, B30, B31, B40, B94, B95, B96, B97, B128.w1, B128.w2, B129.
D1, D8

(UK Contacts)

(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques


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Aviculture Information


General Information:
  • Dabbling Ducks are generally hardy, easy to maintain and easy to breed. Shelter may be required by some of the smaller species in winter. They should be provided with cover (including marginal pond cover) and loafing areas as well as water. A pen which is 50% water is suggested. The water may be shallow (i.e. no more than two feet deep is required), and muddy areas for dabbling in are also appreciated. These ducks are generally good in mixed collections, although the smaller and quieter species may be bullied. Territorial disputes between ducks of the same species may be avoided by keeping only one pair of each species in an enclosure, unless the area is very large. For a single pair of ducks a pen are of 50 to 100 square metres, depending on the size of duck, should be provided.
  • A diet based on wheat and pellets is suggested, with maintenance pellets changed to breeders pellets for the breeding season. Bread and greenfood are also appreciated. Grit should always be available, with soluble grit (e.g. oystershell grit) as a calcium source when breeding.
  • Most species are ground nesters and both close ground cover and ground level nest boxes should be provided. Hand-rearing is generally preferred, as these ducks are generally poor parents in captive conditions, particularly in enclosures shared with other waterfowl. These ducks are prone to hybridization, particularly with closely related species, which should be kept apart from one another.

(B7, B29, B30, B40, B94, B128.w1, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • Garganey are hardy, but shelters and/or good ground cover should be provided for protection in prolonged /severe frost. These ducks are easy to manage, and suitable for mixed collections but are quiet and may be bullied. Feed as other Dabbling Ducks: wheat, pellets, greenfood, grass, bread.
  • These ducks are shy and somewhat difficult to breed. Dense cover and seclusion, without competition, should be provided. Nest in areas of grass or low-growing plants at a distance from water, lay April to May, with replacement clutches sometimes laid as late as June if the eggs are removed. They are very sensitive to disturbance while sitting and broody or artificial incubation is suggested. Ducklings are not difficult to rear; they start feeding easily, but need care and protection when young. Starter crumbs with greenfood such as duckweed may be fed.
  • This species may hybridise with Anas species, Aythya species; they should be kept separated from the closely-related Anas discors - Blue-winged teal and Anas cyanoptera - Cinnamon teal. Hybrids also reported with Aix sponsa - Wood duck.

(B29, B31, B40, B94, B95, B96, B97,B128.w2, B129).

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme recommended average ring size: G 7.0mm (D8).

Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 15 inches, 38cm (B3); 37-41cm (B1).
Adult weight General 290-480g (B1)
Male 240-542g (B3); mean 13.9 ounces (B8).
Female 220-445g (B3); mean 13.1 ounces (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Adult Bill Male Dark grey.
Variations (If present) Female: dark olive-grey with black spots at base.
Eyes (Iris) Male Dark brown.
Variations(If present) Female: umber-brown
Juvenile Bill Dark olive-grey.
Eyes (Iris) Grey-brown.

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Adult Male Bluish grey.
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Brown-grey.

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Adult Male
Click Illustration for full-page view
Head and neck dark chestnut with fine white streaking , blackish crown and nape, white band from eyes to back of neck, rest. Breast and upper mantle pale brown with fine black scalloped markings, abdomen white, flanks vermiculated grey, ventral region and tail coverts buff spotted with brown. Upperparts dark greyish, scapulars elongated, pointed, black with white striping.

Wing grey, with primaries darker than coverts, broad white tips to greater coverts, secondaries dark green with white tips.

Variations (If present)Click Illustration for full-page view Female: head and neck buff with dark brown crown and nape, dark eyeline, dark streaking except clear buff above and below eyeline, throat whitish. Breast, flanks, ventral region buff with brown spotting, centre of abdomen white, upperparts dark brown with buff feather edges. Wing grey-brown, greater coverts white tipped, secondaries green-brown with white tips.

Eclipse: similar to females but redder, with whiter throat, more streaking on head; wing as before.

Juvenile Similar to female but abdomen more heavily marked.

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts dark brown with yellow markings, underparts yellow with dark eyeline and second line under this.
Bill: Flesh-grey.
Feet: Brown-grey.

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Reproductive Season

Time of year Begins April/May.
No. of Clutches One.

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Nest placement and structure

On the ground in thick vegetation near water, a depression with feather and down lining.

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 8-9 (B1).
Range 6-14 (B1); 8-11 (B8).
Egg Description Pale straw-coloured or light brown (B3, B8). Average 46x33mm, 27g (B3).

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21-23 days (B1); 21-25 days (B8).

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35-40 days (B1, B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males About one year old.
Females About one year old.

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Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dabble, head-dip and pick from surface, up-end in shallows.
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Nests solitary or in loose groups, built by female.
Incubation By female only.
Newly-hatched Tended by female only.

Independent about time of fledging.

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Gregarious, except when nesting. Found as pairs or small groups in summer, larger flocks in winter
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Strong seasonal pair bond. Male stays with female during incubation.

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Predation in Wild


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Activity Patterns

Circadian Crepuscular feeding.

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Natural Diet


Aquatic invertebrates – molluscs, crustaceans, aquatic insects and their larvae, amphibians and small fish; also seeds, roots, tubers and green parts of grasses, sedges and aquatic plants, and grain.

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)


Palearctic: across Europe and Asia, mainly from 42º North - 65º North.

Migrates to sub-Saharan Africa, Indian sub-continent, South-east Asia (southern China, Malaysia, Borneo, and the Philippines).

Occasional and Accidental Occasionally recorded Azores, Iceland, Hawaii, Aleutian Islands, North America (mainly west coast)


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In open areas, shallow freshwater lakes with extensive fringe vegetation, marshes, flooded fields, swampy meadows. Winter on coastal lagoons and marshes, inshore waters, open freshwater lakes.

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Intraspecific variation


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Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Common to abundant (B1).

General Legislation
  • This species is listed on Schedule 1 - Part I (Birds protected by special penalties: Notes on the revised schedules state "Birds protected by special penalties at all times") of the LUK2 - Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of the United Kingdom. (W5.Oct01)
CITES listing CITES III in Ghana (B1).
Red-data book listing Listing not yet included.
Threats --

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Captive Populations

Well represented in collections (B8).

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