GARGANEY

GARGANEY (Spatula querquedula) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Garganey breeding male has a dark brown with a white crescent starting above the eye and extending down the nape. Face, throat and breast are finely streaked brown. Back, wings and tail are grey-brown with a white scaly pattern. Wings have a light blue-green speculum with a white border. Flanks are white with fine brown barring. Belly is white, rump is mottled brown. Eyes are brown, spatula-like bill is black, legs and feet are grey. Female has a brown head with a whitish eyebrow, and brown upper parts with a white scaly pattern. This is a small dabbling duck at about 40 cm (16 inches) long.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Spatula-querquedula
NAME: ‘Garganey’ appears to originate from Italian ‘garganello’ and relate to ‘gargle’, and might be onomatopoeic. Latin genus name ‘spatula’ refers to bill shape. Latin species name ‘querquedula’ would also have an onomatopoeic origin.
HABITAT: Wetlands such as ponds, marshes, lakes.
DIET: Aquatic plant material, insects and other invertebrates.
NESTING: Nest is built on the ground in a well-hidden area. Around six light yellow-green eggs are laid, incubated by female.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeding range covers Europe except Ireland and Scandinavia, and temperate Asia up to the tree line. Winters in mid-Africa and Southeast Asia. There are regular vagrants over North America, and some have even been identified on Hawaii.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garganey#/media/File:Spatula_querquedula_map.svg
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings listed as ‘accidental’ so far. See note below on bird vagrancy.
CONSERVATION: Population widespread, not at risk.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Northern Pintail, Blue-winged Teal (especially female)
REFERENCES: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garganey
http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABNJB10120 (Montana Field Guide)
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/linnut/garganey (Nature Gate Finland)
http://www.birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/garganey
https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/433/behavior/Garganey.aspx
https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/garganey (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds)
https://app.bto.org/birdfacts/results/bob1910.htm (British Trust for Ornithology)
http://www.oiseaux-birds.com/card-garganey.html

Garganey, breeding male - Barcelona, Spain - Mar. 2006 - photo from Ferran Pestaña
Garganey, breeding male – Barcelona, Spain – Mar. 2006 – photo from Ferran Pestaña
Garganey, female - Barcelona, Spain - Apr. 2007 - photo by Ferran Pestaña
Garganey, female – Barcelona, Spain – Apr. 2007 – photo by Ferran Pestaña
Garganey, male in eclipse plumage - Hong Kong - Nov. 2010 - photo by Frankie Chu
Garganey, male in eclipse plumage – Hong Kong – Nov. 2010 – photo by Frankie Chu

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