Garganeys are small dabbling ducks. The males are interestingly multi-patterned. The top of their head has a black line running to their neck, while a striking white line above the top of their eye weaves its way down to their back.

Their face and throat are brown and uniquely lined. Their back is striped gray, black, and white. Their belly is grayish-white. When in flight, a green or blue line with white borders appears on their wings.

Female Garganeys have different feather patterns. They have no vertical stripe from the eye. They are mostly dark brown all over, with a scaly pattern on their back, chest, and belly.

  • Spatula querquedula
  • Length: 14 – 16 in (36 – 41 cm)
  • Weight: 18.34 oz (520 g)
  • Wingspan: 23 – 25 in (58 – 64 cm)


Garganeys usually breed in Eurasia and winter in Africa and southern Asia, but some wander into Alaska.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Garganeys around shallow freshwater lakes, reedy wetlands, and marshes with abundant vegetation on the edges. 

Garganeys mostly feed on aquatic plants and insects. With their spatula-like bill, they are able to filter the water that passes through their bill to get at their food. 

Garganey Calls:

Male Garganey

Female Garganey


Nests of Garganeys are often found on the ground close to shallow ponds and lakes filled with floating plant vegetation. Their nests are made with grass and plants that are hidden behind tall shrubs. There are about seven eggs per nest that the female incubates by herself. It takes twenty-four days for the eggs to hatch.

Fun Fact: