I wouldn’t describe the Gadwall as the most flamboyant member of the duck world. Never the less, it is enjoyable to watch.
The aerial flights of waterfowl can be quite impressive. They twist and turn their bodies in order maneuver in mid-air. This happens so rapidly that you need to pay sharp attention. It is a little easier to notice in the much larger Canada Geese. But ducks do it too.
Being a heavier duck, the Gadwall’s landing can be a little slower. On a windy day, they appear to hover and slowly descend; more like a helicopter.
Waterfowl land feet-first, often gliding along the water surface for a short distance.
Some species of waterfowl run along the surface of the water, flapping their wings until they can get enough lift to rise off the water. Puddle ducks can spring up off the water to take flight.
The next time you have a chance to see waterfowl, spend time watching their behavior. Notice their flight patterns. How do they land and take flight? How does this change between the larger ducks and the smaller ducks? Understanding some of these simple behaviors can help in the identification process. Or, you can just enjoy watching them.