Spatula querquedula (Linnaeus, 1758) GY GARGA 1910
Family: Anseriformes > Anatidae

Garganey, Allan Drweitt

Unlike most of Britain’s ducks the Garganey is a summer visitor, arriving in early spring from its wintering grounds in Africa.

BirdTrack records show that the species is widely recorded in spring on lakes, marshes and wet meadows, but assessing the size of the breeding population is difficult owing to the birds’ secretive nature. An estimate of around 100 pairs makes this a rare duck, although the British population is important in a European context.

Male Garganey are striking, with their rich brown head and neck, long prominent curving white eyebrow and black and white plumes above neat grey flanks.


Garganey identification is sometimes difficult. The following article may help when identifying Garganey.

related video

Identifying Garganey and Teal

Teal. Photograph by Edmund Fellowes

Garganey are small, striking ducks, but they are scarce and secretive summer visitors. They can turn up anywhere on passage and whilst the males are easy to identify the females and young birds are similar to the familiar Teal. This video helps you pick out Garganey from the crowd.


Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Garganey, provided by xeno-canto contributors.


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Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.



The Garganey is difficult to monitor as breeding occurs at extensive wetland sites where it is difficult to confirm, and the presence of pairs in suitable habitat may also relate to passage birds. RBBP data suggest that numbers have recently increased to a five-year mean of 120 pairs for the period 2015–2019, with numbers stable over the last 25 years but remaining slightly below the peak of 163 pairs in 1993 (Eaton et al. 2021).


Widely recorded in spring on lakes, marshlands and wet meadows, the Garganey is surely among the most difficult duck to census as a breeding bird. The breeding distribution map shows that records with breeding evidence were received from 199 10-km squares in Britain and 13 in Ireland. Favoured areas are around the Ouse Washes and nearby fenland sites, Norfolk Broads, Somerset Levels, northeast and northwest England coastlines.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2


Change in occupied 10-km squares in the UK


Garganey are localised summer visitor with a pronounced pattern of detection in spring and autumn bookending low detection during the breeding season; occasional birds winter.

Weekly occurence of Garganey from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.

An overview of year-round movements for the whole of Europe can be seen on the EuroBirdPortal viewer.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.

Foreign locations of birds ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland

Foreign locations of Garganey ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland
Encountered in: Winter (Nov-Feb); Spring (Mar-Apr); Summer (May-Jul); Autumn (Aug-Oct)


Lifecycle and body size information about Garganey, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.



View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Gaelic: Lach-crann
Welsh: Hwyaden Addfain
Catalan: xarrasclet
Czech: círka modrá
Danish: Atlingand
Dutch: Zomertaling
Estonian: rägapart
Finnish: heinätavi
French: Sarcelle d’été
German: Knäkente
Hungarian: böjti réce
Icelandic: Taumönd
Irish: Praslacha Shamhraidh
Italian: Marzaiola
Latvian: prikške
Lithuanian: dryžagalve krykle
Norwegian: Knekkand
Polish: cyranka (zwyczajna)
Portuguese: marreco
Slovak: kacica chrapacka
Slovenian: reglja
Spanish: Cerceta carretona
Swedish: årta
Folkname: Summer/Cricket Teal


Interpretation and scientific publications about Garganey from BTO scientists.


Causes of change

It is unclear why Garganey numbers appear relatively stable in the UK. Conservation management and creation of new wetlands in order to support species including the Bittern may have helped ensure that the condition and availability of habitat for Garganey has remained favourable in the UK.

Links to more information from

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