The garganey (Spatula querquedula) is a small dabbling duck. It breeds in much of Europe and western Asia, but is strictly migratory, with the entire population moving to southern Africa, India (in particular Santragachi), Bangladesh (in the natural reservoirs of Sylhet district) and Australasia in winter, where large flocks can occur. This species was first described by Linnaeus in 1758. Like other small ducks such as the common teal, this species rises easily from the water with a fast twisting wader-like flight.
The first formal description of the Garganey was by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae. He introduced the binomial name Anas querquedula. A molecular phylogentic study comparing mitochondrial DNA sequences published in 2009 found that the genus Anas, as then defined, was non-monophyletic. The genus was subsequently split into four monophyletic genera with ten species including the Garganey moved into the resurrected genus Spatula. This genus had been originally proposed by the German zoologist Friedrich Boie in 1822. The name Spatula is the Latin for a "spoon" or "spatula". The specific epithet is derived from Latin querquedula, a word believed to represent to its call.
The common English name dates from the 17th century and comes from Lombard language gargenei, the plural of garganell, which ultimately comes from the Late Latin gargala "tracheal artery". The English usage owes its origins to Conrad Gesner who used the Italian name in the third volume of his Historiae Animalium (History of Animals) of 1555.
The adult male is unmistakable, with its brown head and breast with a broad white crescent over the eye. The rest of the plumage is grey, with loose grey scapular feathers It has a grey bill and legs. In flight it shows a pale blue speculum with a white border. When swimming it will show prominent white edges on its tertials. His crown (anatomy) is dark and face is reddish brown.
Some care is needed in separating the brown female from the similar common teal, but the stronger face markings and more frequent head-shaking when dabbling are good indicators. Confusion with the female of the blue-winged teal is also possible, but the head and bill shape is different, and the latter species has yellow legs. Pale eyebrow, dark eye line, pale lore spot bordered by a second dark line.
These birds feed mainly by skimming rather than upending.
The male has a distinctive crackling mating call; the female is rather silent for a female duck, but can manage a feeble quack.
The garganey is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. The status of the garganey on the IUCN Red List is Least Concern.
- BirdLife International (2016). "Spatula querquedula". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: e.T22680313A86016410. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22680313A86016410.en.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Clements, James (2007). The Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
- Linnaeus, C. (1758). Systema Naturæ per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, Volume 1 (in Latin) (10th ed.). Holmiae:Laurentii Salvii. p. 126.
- Gonzalez, J.; Düttmann, H.; Wink, M. (2009). "Phylogenetic relationships based on two mitochondrial genes and hybridization patterns in Anatidae". Journal of Zoology. 279 (3): 310–318. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2009.00622.x.
- Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2017). "Screamers, ducks, geese & swans". World Bird List Version 7.3. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
- Boie, Friedrich (1822). "Generalübersicht". Isis von Oken (in German). Col 564.
- Mayr, Ernst; Cottrell, G. William, eds. (1979). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 1 (2nd ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 460.
- Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 328, 361. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
- "gar·ga·ney". American Heritage Dictionary. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
- "Garganey". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. Retrieved 1 June 2007. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Dunn, J.; Alderfer, J. (2006). National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America (5th ed.).
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- Encyclopædia Britannica. 11 (11th ed.). 1911. .
- BirdLife species factsheet for Spatula querquedula
- RSPB Birds by Name: Garganey
- "Garganey media". Internet Bird Collection.
- Ageing and sexing (PDF; 1.1 MB) by Gerd-Michael Heinze & Javier Blasco-Zumeta
- "Spatula querquedula". Avibase.
- Garganey photo gallery at VIREO (Drexel University)
- Interactive range map of Spatula querquedula at IUCN Red List maps
- Audio recordings of Garganey on Xeno-canto.