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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Gadwall

Hebrides bird sightings -  Gadwall


Anas strepera

Gaelic : Lach-ghlas

Photography © Terry Fountain
St Kilda - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
7th May, 2007


Our Gadwall photographs




  • Gadwall (Common Gadwall, Creek Duck, Gadwall, Gray Duck, Gray Wigeon, Speckle-Belly, Red-Wing, Blarting Duck, Bleating Duck)
  • Anas strepera
  • Gaelic : Lach-ghlas
  • UK: Migrant/Scarce resident breeder, winter visitor (Possibly see anytime of year, but mostly see passage birds which migrate into UK from continent for a mild winter)
  • UK: AMBER LIST. Just 790 breeding pairs summer so Amber list status. (In 1850 1 breeding pair only!). Winter 17,900 birds RSPB
  • WI: Rare breeder - Uists (1-9 breeding records), scarce passage visitor (very small numbers recorded in most years)
  • Breeds: Nests on ground (often a distance from water). Lays 9-11 eggs. Young birds fed insects at start. N Europe, Asia, N America.
  • Winters: Strongly migratory - south of breeding range to Africa, Asia, US. Only forms small flocks in winter.
  • Habitat: Open wetlands, prairie, lakes, wet grassland, marshes (with dense undergrowth at edge). Migration also rivers, estuaries
  • Diet: Swimming with head underwater dabbles for plant material. Leaves, shoots, stems, seeds. (Adults also molluscs & insects in nesting season).
  • Breeding male exquiste, subtle grey barring & speckling pattern. (At distance bird looks grey & black). Rear end black. White wing patch (speculum). Non-breeding male looks very like female. Female light-brown & similar to female Mallard but has dark orange-edged bill (Mallard's all yellowish-orange), smaller size, & faint white wingpatch.
  • Max recorded age 21yrs 3mths
  • Listen to a Gadwall (fairly quiet birds - males harsh grunting & whistling call, females Mallard-like quack
  • Similar birds: Female & male Gadwall out of breeding season similar to Mallard. Breeding male like Pintail


Gadwall records in the Western Isles

Rare breeder - Uists (1-9 breeding records), scarce passage visitor (very small numbers recorded in most years)

On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the Gadwall is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.

























(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)



Male and female ducks and their collective nouns

Some people use the word duck only for an adult female and drake for an adult male whilst others say hen and drake.

Waterfowl collective nouns (From WIKI):
waterfowl (on water) A raft
waterfowl A bunch of waterfowl
waterfowl (less than 30) A knob
ducks, swimming A paddling of ducks
waterfowl A plump
ducks, idle in water A raft of ducks
ducks, diving A dopping of ducks
ducks, on ground A badelynge of ducks
ducks, flying A flight, plump, or team of ducks
ducks A brace, bunch, flock, skein, sord, string, brace, flush




Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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