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Order Wildfowl/Anseriformes, Family Waterfowl/Anatidae

Gadwall/Anas strepera - Male

L 46-56 cm, WS 78-90 cm. Breeds on variety of fresh (and rarely brackish) waters, mostly on eutrophic lakes or bays with reedbeds and wooded islets. Local breeder in Britain, partly introduced, increasing.
IDENTIFICATION: Slightly smaller than Mallard, and of slimmer build with narrower wings and body. In flight, note whitish belly (Mallard pale brownish). Main feature is small white speculum, but note that this is prominent only on adult male (‘lump of sugar’), and practically non-existent on juvenile female. - Adult male breeding: Head medium brown; stern black (but tail pale brown), rest of body grey, finely vermiculated, boldest on breast; long scapulars pale grey-buff; bill grey-black. In flight, prominent white speculum, and black and chestnut on upperwing. - Adult female: Resembles Mallard, but has whitish belly, small white speculum, different bill pattern with orange even stripe along cutting edges, and darker brown-grey tail-feathers. - Adult male eclipse: As female but retains adult male wing; bill with some orange, recalling female. - Juvenile: As adult female but body colour brighter buff, contrasting with greyer head.
VOICE: male has a low, short, croaking ‘ahrk’, and high-pitched whistled ‘pee’ in courtship. female has quacking call like Mallard, but often somewhat harder and more mechanical.

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