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The garganey (Spatula querquedula) is a small dabbling duck belonging to the family Anatidae. The garganey species is distributed in Asia, Indian Subcontinent, Europe, Africa and Australia. Large wintering flocks are seen in India.

Taxonomy of garganey

  • Scientific Name: Spatula querquedula
  • Common Name: Garganey
  • French: Sarcelle d’été; German: Knäkente; Spanish: Cerceta carretona;
  • Other names: Anas Querquedula Linnaeus, 1758;
  • Family: Anatidae › Anseriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: Linnaeus, 1758
Spatula querquedula (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously included in the genus Anas.

Indian birds - Image of Garganey - Spatula querquedula
Indian birds - Garganey - Spatula querquedula


The garganey is a small bird and the male measures, 35 to 40 cm in length and weighs 250 to 500 grams. The female bird weighs 250 to 600 grams. The drake has a brown head with a broad crescent over the eye. The breast is brown. The rest of the body is grey with loose grey scapular feathers. The bill is dark grey and the legs are grey. A blue speculum with a white border is seen during flight. The crown is dark and the face is reddish-brown.


In breeding season, the garganey species of birds inhabit small, shallow ponds and lakes with emergent and fringing vegetation and flooded grasslands. The wintering garganey birds occur in fresh and brackish water bodies such as lakes, ponds, lagoons and creeks.

Feeding habits

The garganey species are both diurnal and nocturnal feeders. The garganey species are omnivorous and feed on aquatic plants, weeds, seeds, roots, tubers, shoots, leaves, aquatic insects, small fish, crustaceans, molluscs and frogs.


The garganey species nest on the ground, rarely located more than 150 meters from water edge. The nest is hidden in tall grasses. The garganey breeding season is during April and May.


The garganey species breed Europe and Northwest Asia. They move to Africa, Indian Subcontinent (particularly South India), Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and neighbouring islands for wintering.

Movement Patterns

The garganey species are highly migratory. They migrate southwards during July to September for wintering. The return migration takes place February onwards. While migrating the garganey fly during night and rest during the day.

Status and conservation

The global garganey population is estimated to be 2,600,000 to 2,800,000 individual birds (2006). The garganey species is susceptible to avian influenza. Habitat degradation as well as agricultural and industrial pollution are the major threats in conservation. These garganey species are hunted for food and recreation in certain pockets of Europe and Africa.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these garganey species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Spatula querquedula
Species:S. querquedula
Binomial name:Spatula querquedula
Distribution:Europe, Asia, Indian Subcontinent, Africa, Australia;
Feeding habits:seeds, tubers, shoots, aquatic plants, crustaceans, aquatic insects, molluscs, small fish, frogs;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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