©Guy Edwardes/2020VISION


©Derek Moore


Scientific name: Anas strepera
The gadwall is a dabbling duck, feeding at the surface of shallow water by 'upending' - putting its head down and its bottom up! Only a small number of gadwall nest in the UK, but large numbers winter here.

Species information


Length: 48-54cm
Wingspan: 90cm
Weight: 700-830g
Average lifespan: 4 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

When to see

January to December


A fairly common dabbling duck found throughout the year, the gadwall is only a little smaller than a Mallard. It nests in small numbers in the UK, on freshwater lakes with lots of vegetation, but can be seen in large numbers in winter at reservoirs, lakes, flooded gravel pits and coastal wetlands.

How to identify

Male gadwalls are a grey-brown colour with a black rear end. Both males and females can be distinguished by the white patches on their wings.


Mainly found in south and eastern England, but can be seen anywhere.

Did you know?

Gadwall can sometimes be seen following coot around. After the a coot has dived down to pick waterweed, the opportunistic gadwall will grab some for itself!

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland and coastal nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.


Gadwall by Tom Hibbert