gadwell defined in 1930 yeargadwell - Gadwell;
gadwell - Beak lead-colour; head and upper neck light brown with darker mottlings; back marked with crescents of light grey on a dark ground; median wing-coverts chestnut; greater coverts blackish; primaries brown; secondaries brown and black, the outer webs forming a white speculum; rump and upper tail-coverts bluish black; tail-feathers dark brown with pale edges; lower neck dark grey, each feather with a pale grey margin; breast and belly white, flanks and vent grey; under tail-coverts bluish black; legs and feet orange. Length, twenty-one inches. Female: head and upper neck light brown mottled with dark; lower hind neck and upper parts brown; speculum and under parts white.
The gadwell most nearly resembles the mallard, but is not bo richly coloured, and is smaller in size. It is a widely distributed species, ranging over a greater portion of the northern hemisphere. In the British Islands it is a winter visitor in small numbers, very few pairs remaining to breed, except in one locality in Norfolk, where it has been strictly protected for the last forty years, with the result that it breeds regularly, and is abundant. Elsewhere it is the rarest of the British freshwater ducks. The wings are long and sharply pointed, and the flight exceedingly rapid. When flying it frequently utters its cry, which resembles that of the mallard, but is shriller in tone. Like the mallard, it is a night feeder; during the daylight hours it usually remains concealed in the closest cover. Its nest, lined with dry grass and a quantity of down, is placed on the ground at some distance from the waterside. Eight to twelve buffish white eggs are laid.
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