What’s So Special About the Gadwall?
Seriously? Just look at this drake. Pretty dapper wouldn’t you say? Pete Dunne calls the Gadwall (Anas strepera) the “Dapper Gray Dabbler.” Click on photos for full sized images.
Pete goes on to state that “the plumage of the male is distinctive. The head and body are overall gray, shot through with subtle brown highlights and bracketed by a small black bill and a very obvious black butt. At extreme distances, the silver rump (actually the tertials of the folded wing) shines with reflected light.”
“Females and immatures are cold brown, contrasting with a grayer head. Bills are black on top, orange along the sides.”
“In all plumage, Gadwall shows a square bright white speculum that is obvious in flight and usually winks through the folded wing when the bird is sitting.”
The fact that they are monogamous and pair up by November, 4 to 5 months before breeding, probably endears them to some.
I found this pair among the Northern Shovelers at Delevan National Wildlife Refuge and watched as they perched atop a log for awhile, preening and scratching.
I’m posting this video I shot at Delevan NWR in case you haven’t seen these elegant ducks in action. Our National Wildlife Refuges are special places where we can observe wildlife in their natural habitats. If you, like millions of other wildlife enthusiasts, enjoy visiting our National Wildlife Refuge System to observe and photograph the hundreds of species that rest and live on our refuges, please join us in supporting the Wildlife Conservation Stamp Project.
References: Dunne, Pete (2006), Pete Dunne’s Essential Field Guide Companion. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company