Garganey is a widespread dabbling duck of Europe and Asia. They are
long-distance migrants in Eurasia, a trait which may contribute to the
occasional sighting of the species in North America, where sightings have
occurred in scattered locations across the continent. While the plumage is
very different, Garganey are very similar ecologically to the
Northern Shoveler of North America.
Habitat: During the summer breeding season, they
are found in wetland habitats and shallow ponds and lakes, particularly
those with an abundance of aquatic vegetation. They can also be found
in flooded fields (and other flooded areas), and wet meadows. During
migration and in the winter, they typically utilize similar habitat, but
inhabit a greater variety of aquatic habitats, including occasional stops
and stays on brackish or coastal saltwater environments.
Diet: Omnivorous, feeding on a variety of food
items. Animal matter makes up a large portion of the diet during the
breeding season, with food items including aquatic insects and their larvae,
small crustaceans and mollusks, leeches, small fish, and tadpoles and tiny
amphibians. They also feed on significant amounts of plant matter,
especially in the winter, with food items including the seeds, roots,
leaves, buds, and stems of a variety of aquatic plants and sometimes
Behavior: Ecologically behaves very similar to
North America's Northern Shoveler.
They dabble at the water's surface, filtering water through comb-like
structures in the beak to strain out food items.
Nesting: Uses grassy areas near water for
breeding, with the nest consisting of a depression on the ground or in
herbaceous vegetation. Nesting occurs either as isolated pairs or
small, loose groups of breeding birds.
Migration: Strongly migratory. Garganey nest
in large portions of Europe and Asia. They move to Africa, India,
southeastern Asia, and Indonesia for the winter.
Males are distinctive in breeding plumage. In non-breeding plumage,
they are similar to the Blue-winged
Teal., but facial patterns in the plumage are distinct.