Waterfowl Identification

The Gadwall, Anas strepera, drake is mostly gray with a brown head and a black rump. Both the drake and the brown hen have distinctive black bordered white wing patches, which can be seen in flight and occasionally at rest.
Image comparing drake and hen/UISFWS Drake images

Gadwalls are most numerous in the Central Flyway, but not too common anywhere. They are often called "gray mallards" or "gray ducks." They are one of the earliest migrants, seldom facing cold weather.

They are the only puddle ducks with a white speculum. Small, compact flocks fly swiftly, usually in a direct line. Wingbeats are rapid.

Length: 21"
Weight: 2 lbs.

Image comparing fulvous and Black-bellied whistling ducks wings/USFWS


 Distribution Map

Similar Species

In Flight
In flight illustration/USFWS In flight illustration/USFWS Flock Pattern

Drakes whistle and kack-kack; hens quack like a mallard, but softer.

Last Updated: November 14, 2018