1595. Chaulelasmus streperus.
Anas strepera, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 200 (1766); Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 160; Fairbank, S. F. iv, p. 264; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 592. Chauliodus strepera, Swains. Jour. Roy. Inst, ii, p. 19 (1831); Jerdon, Madr. Jour. L. S. xii, p. 220. Chaulelasmus streperus, Bonap. Comp. List B. Eur. N. Amer. p. 56 (1838) ; Blyth, Cat. p. 304; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 802 ; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 275 ; Stoliczka, J A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 255 : Hume & Henders. Lah. to Yark. p. 296; Hume, S. F. i, p. 261; Adam, ibid. p. 402 ; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 29; Davids. & Wend. S. F. vii, p. 92 ; Ball, ibid. p. 232; Hume, ibid. p. 493 ; id. Cat. no. 961; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 362 ; Hume Marsh. Game B. iii, p. 181, pl.; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 92; Butler, ibid. p. 438; Reid, S. F. x, p. 82 ; Davidson, ibid. p. 325 ; Hume, ibid. p. 418 ; Taylor, ibid. p. 531 ; Oates, B. B. p. 283; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 405; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 345; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 179; Salvadori, Cat. B. M. xxvii, p. 221.
Mila, Bhuar, Beykhur, H.; Peing-hans, Beng. ; Mail, Nepal; Burd, Sind.
Coloration. Male. Head and neck greyish white, speckled with brown, crown chiefly brown ; a slight dark band running back from each eye ; lower neck and upper back dark brown, with concentric whitish bars; scapulars brown, most of them vermiculated with white or fulvous, the longest not vermiculated, pale-edged ; lower back brown, sometimes vermiculated, passing into black on the rump and upper tail-coverts ; tail-feathers and quills greyish brown, outer webs of middle secondaries black, of last two or three white, forming a speculum ; smaller wing-coverts brown, median chestnut, greater velvety black ; wing-lining and lower parts white, the upper breast with crescentic brown bars, sides and flanks with narrow wavy brown bars ; lower abdomen with dusky markings; under tail-coverts black. After the breeding-season the drake assumes female plumage.
Female. Head and neck streaked brown and white, brown predominating above, white beneath; upper parts dark brown, with rufous-buff edges to feathers ; rump blacker; wings as in the male, except that the chestnut is wanting or confined to a few of the median wing-coverts ; breast pale rufous, spotted with brown; abdomen white. In young birds the lower parts are spotted throughout.
Bill in male black or brownish, reddish or yellow on the lower mandible; in female brownish orange, blackish on the tip and culmen; irides brown; legs yellowish brown to dull orange.
Length of male 20 ; tail 3.4 ; wing 10.5 ; tarsus 1.5 ; bill from gape 2.1. Females are smaller : wing 9.5.
Distribution. Throughout the greater part of the northern hemisphere, breeding in the temperate zone and migrating in winter to the southward. The Gadwall is common from October to March throughout Northern India, from the Punjab and Sind to Assam, Manipur, and in Upper Burma; but it has not been observed in Pegu or Tenasserim, nor in the Peninsula of India south of Mysore, nor in Ceylon.
Habits, &c. Gadwalls are common Ducks in Northern India, and may be found in small or large flocks wherever there are rivers, tanks, or marshes, but they do not in general resort to the sea-coast. Their call and food are very similar to those of the Mallard, and their flight is rather more rapid. They are not known to breed within our limits. As a rule they are good to eat.