Garganey (Anas querquedula)


[order] ANSERIFORMES | [family] Anatidae | [latin] Anas querquedula | [authority] Linnaeus, 1758 | [UK] Garganey | [FR] Sarcelle de ete | [DE] Knakente | [ES] Cerceta Carretona | [NL] Zomertaling


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Anas querquedula EU w, c, e


Anas is a genus of dabbling ducks. It includes mallards, wigeons, teals, pintails and shovelers in a number of subgenera. Some authorities prefer to elevate the subgenera to genus rank.[1] Indeed, as the moa-nalos are very close to this clade and may have evolved later than some of these lineages, it is rather the absence of a thorough review than lack of necessity that this genus is rather over-lumped. The phylogeny of this genus is one of the most confounded ones of all living birds. Research is hampered by the fact the radiation of the two major groups of Anas ? the teals and mallard groups ? took place in a very short time and fairly recently, roughly in the mid-late Pleistocene. Furthermore, hybridization may have long played a major role in Anas evolution, with within-subgenus hybrids regularly and between-subgenus hybrids not infrequently being fully fertile.[1] The relationships between species are much obscured by this fact, and mtDNA sequence data is of dubious value in resolving their relationships; on the other hand, nuclear DNA sequences evolve too slowly to resolve the phylogeny of the subgenus Anas for example. Some major clades can be discerned. For example, that the traditional subgenus Anas, the mallard group, forms a monophyletic (in the loose sense, i.e. non-holophyletic) group has never been seriously questioned by modern science and is as good as confirmed (but see below). On the other hand, the phylogeny of the teals is very confusing. For these reasons, the dabbling duck lineages more distantly related to mallard group (which includes the type species of Anas) than the wigeons should arguably be separated in their own genera. These would include the Baikal Teal, the Garganey, the spotted black-capped Punanetta group, and the shovelers and other blue-winged species. Whether the wigeons, which are very distinct in morphology and behavior, but much less so in mtDNA cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 sequences, should also be considered a distinct genus Mareca (including the Gadwall and Falcated Duck) is essentially the one remaining point of dispute as regards the question which taxa should remain in this genus and which ones should not.

Physical charateristics

Small, slightly built, and slender-necked dabbling duck with rather flat crown and straight bill. Males has broad white supercilium, otherwise mottled brown head, breast, upperparts, and stern, contrasting with greyish flanks and white belly, long black and white scapulars, and pale blue-grey forewing. Female resembles female Teal but rather paler and head more patterned, with pale patch at base of longer bill, more distinct dark crown and eyestripe contrasting with light supercilium and further stripe across lower face. Speculum dull green edged in front and more narrowly behind with white. In flight, greyish (but not blue-grey) forewing and indistinct greenish-brown speculum characteristic.

Listen to the sound of Garganey


Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 59 cm wingspan max.: 67 cm
size min.: 37 cm size max.: 41 cm
incubation min.: 21 days incubation max.: 23 days
fledging min.: 35 days fledging max.: 23 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 7  
      eggs max.: 10  


Eurasia : West, Central, East


Distinguished among genus as fully migratory, whole population changing habitat seasonally throughout west Palearctic. Breeds mainly within Mediterranean, steppe, and temperate climatic zones, with some overspill north into boreal and south into desert fringes. In west Palearctic, makes only brief localized use of marine or even of tidal estuarine habitats. Favours narrow or well compartmented, sheltered, and shallow standing fresh waters, merging into grassland, floodland, or other wetland, with plenty of floating and emergent vegetation, but not too tall or dense, unbroken, fringing cover. Habitat outside breeding season similar, but where suitable equivalents unavailable temporarily uses more exposed and poorer waters, or small ponds, ditches, and irrigation pools.


Nest is build on ground in thick vegetation, grass, or rush tussocks. Usually close to water, within 20 m, rarely over 100 m. The species breeds in single pairs, not colonial. Nest is a shallow depression lined with leaves and grass. Clutch size is 8-9 eggs, rarely 6 or up to 14. Incubation period lasts 21-23 days and is carried out by the female. The young fledge after 35-40 days. This species is sexually mature at 1 year.

Feeding habits

Animal and plant materials collected mainly while swimming with head under water, somewhat less often up-ending briefly, and from surface. Often also snaps at individual items on or flying above surface.

Video Garganey


copyright: youtube


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
This species breeding in the temperate regions of Eurasia is totally migratory, and its European population is wintering entirely in sub-Saharan West Africa. It is still estimated at 2000000 individuals, but seems to decline following loss of habitat in the breeding areas by reclamation of wetlands or transformation into artificial lakes. In Africa also its wintering areas are threatened by reclamation and expansion of rice cultiv
Garganey status Least Concern


Highly migratory, wintering chiefly in sub-Saharan Africa, Indian subcontinent and SE Asia. Has occurred Azores. Iceland, Hawaii and Aleutian Is; also a few records from North Africa, particularly W coast.

Distribution map

Garganey distribution range map


Title Fuelling rates of garganey ( Anas querquedula) staging
in the Camargue, southern France, during spring migration
Author(s): Matthieu Guillemain, Herve Fritz, Marcel Klaassen, Alan R. Johnson and Heinz Hafner
Abstract: Most species of long-distance migratory birds put ..[more]..
Source: J Ornithol (2004) 145: 152-158

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