Gadwall Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
General Information
- Large dabbling duck with steep forehead
- White speculum
- Juvenile similar to adult female

Adult male alternate
- Alternate plumage worn from fall through early summer
- Black bill
- Brown head
- Gray body
- Gray and brown breast, back and upperwing coverts
- Black rump, uppertail coverts and undertail coverts
- White belly

Adult male basic
- Similar to adult female

Adult female
- Gray bill with orange edges
- Mottled gray, brown and white body plumage
- Distinct white belly patch

Similar species
Adult male in alternate plumage is unmistakable. All plumages easily identified in flight and occasionally at rest by white speculum. Females and immature at rest can be identified by their steeper head profile than similarly-plumaged Mallards, by the gray bill with orange edges, and by the distinct white belly patch.
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