Small duck (approx 41 cm or 16 in). Very different plumage of males and females. Males with greyish upperparts, a mottled anal area and brown underparts and breast. Grey flanks with a vertical white stripe. Brown head and a wide white eye stripe. Brown-toned females in general and a dark, discreet eye stripe. In flight, silver wings can be seen. Speculum (fringe of colour on the wings) with two longitudinal pale bars.
Species linked to shallow freshwater wetlands with abundant aquatic vegetation and organic matter. In winter it also occupies marshes, salt ponds and coastal wetlands.
Bird that can be watched during the migratory passage. The Garganey spends the winter in tropical Africa and breeds in northern Europe, although there is a small breeding population in the marshes of the Guadalquivir. Nest among the riparian vegetation. One annual laying of 6 to 14 eggs. Swimming duck that feeds mainly on larvae of amphibians and small invertebrates that manages to catch by filtering the water with its long bill. It also consumes vegetable matter from aquatic plants in shallow waters.
In the province of Malaga it is a frequent species in the pre-nuptial migratory passage. In spring large flocks of this duck, sometimes up to hundreds of individuals, come to the coast and are seen in the sea near the beaches (especially in Punta de Calaburras, Mijas) and at the mouth of the Guadalhorce. Also it is observed in the inland lagoons of the province, like the one in Fuente de Piedra.
The Latin name of these birds explains that they are teal-type ("querquedula") ducks ("anas"). Teals are small ducks, about the size of a pigeon, and with a thick bill. The Garganey is also known as "summer teal" as it is a breeder in other areas of the peninsula. In Malaga they are popularly known as "garcetillas".