Sometimes known affectionately as the gray duck by hunters, gadwall are medium-sized dabbling ducks common across temperate areas worldwide. As their nickname indicates, both males and females have gray-brown to gray plumage that is less flashy than many other species.
Gadwall are primarily herbivorous dabbling ducks, feeding on leaves and stems of submersed aquatic vegetation. During breeding season, they are known to eat more invertebrate food items such as snails and water beetles, but they are primarily herbivorous most of the year.
Nests are made with grasses and lined with down. Females lay nine to 11 cream eggs.
Females make a nasally quack. Males Gadwall make short, deep “burps.”
This medium sized duck is known as the gray duck as both males and females have gray-brown to gray plumage. The males have a black rump.
Length: 18 to 23 in (46 to 57 cm)
Wingspan: 33 in (84 cm)
Gadwall nest on the ground in grasslands and on islands in wetlands. During migration and winter, flocks of gadwall will use a wide variety of wetland types, including flooded forests, seasonal emergent wetlands, deep open water and flooded croplands. Historically, gadwall primarily used semi-permanent emergent marshes with interspersed open water and submersed and emergent vegetation, but they are now common in flooded agricultural fields, managed wetlands and other types throughout their range. National wildlife refuges manage seasonal emergent wetlands and promote submersed aquatic vegetation for this species.
Gadwalls are well-known for stealing food from American coots.
Gadwall are primarily herbivorous dabbling ducks year-round, feeding on leaves and stems of submersed aquatic vegetation. During breeding season, they are known to eat more invertebrate food items such as snails and water beetles.