The Gadwall

My name is Kiel and I have chosen to research the Gadwall. Throughtout much of the northwest, lakes are a common sight. Since lakes are so common, it’s only natural that ducks are also a normal part of life. I have spent many years on our local lakes and watch these birds every summer.  The Gadwall is one of many species that lives in our back yards, but is one of the more ignored. Gadwall....first pic


The Gadwall (Anas strepera), is a very common duck. Unlike its cousin, the mallard, it is drab when first examined. Up close, you can see complex patterns on all feathers as well as a unique white patch on the back of the wing.



Ponds and marshes are where Gadwalls prefer to live. It also likes deeper water than other ducks. The deeper water provides protection from predators. When feeding, this duck returns to the shallows where there is more plant life near the surface.Gadwall Map


 One of the most interesting facts about the Gadwall, is that the males perform a complex mating dance as part of their natural reproduction cycle. After a female has selected a male, the pair remains together until part way through the nesting season. Gadwalls reach sexual maturity in their first winter.

A typical nest.


A typical nest.


Gadwall nests are usually concealed in tall reeds or grass, and are mainly configured of the same vegetation. On average, between eight and eleven eggs are laid. The male leaves its partner partway through the laying process, and the female incubates the eggs for about a month.






Eruasion Milfoil


Eurasian Milfoil


 The Gadwall is a surface feeder, mainly eating the leaves and stems of aquatic plants. It has also been known to eat macroinvertebrates and small fish, though this is usually observed in younger specimens. Its population has increased in recent years, mainly due to the spread of eruasion milfoil, a mainstay in its diet.



Since the Gadwall eats an invasive species, they can be considered good for the environment. As of yet, global warming or climate change has yet to affect this species.



The call of a Gadwall is raspy and not a clear “quack”. Click HERE for a link to an example.



Natural predators of this species include; foxes, coyotes, and predatory birds. In recent years humans and their pets, cats and dogs, have been added to this list.

8 thoughts on “The Gadwall

  1. Kiel, Great introduction. Regarding habitat, does the water quality need to be at a certain standard? Why does it prefer deeper water? Since they diet on milfoil, do they spread it? I suggest that you describe more about the mating dance, possibly include a video. I suggest you make your sound link bold and a bright color. Be sure to describe the life cycle, your plan and record of sightings at the LPWR, competition, precocial?, winter adaptations, predators, and more about behavior.

  2. Good Job, I found it funny how the female duck in the picture was not able to cover the entire nest of eggs. You should probably add more infromation on all of your headings. What is the life cycle of your duck?

  3. This is nice, Kiel. I really like the way you desribe the Gadwall. The only thing I saw was that in your paragraph titled “Description”, there is a typo. It says Gawall.. without the d. :) Great work.

  4. Ok. Great questions. I do’t know specifics as to why not, but ducks in general do not nest in trees. As for the other questions, I added more information on the blog.

  5. Under the heading “Niche” you will find the information on their impact and global warming. Any other questions?

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