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One of the smallest members of the duck family, the blue-winged teal is 14 to 16 inches long, has a wingspan of 22 to 24 inches, and weighs between 8 and 19 ounces. Both sexes have large light blue patches on the front of each wing, visible in flight. The male (below right) is marked with a white crescent on his face and a white patch on his rear flank; the female (below left) lacks both markings.
Distribution and Habitat
The blue-winged teal breeds across much of the central and northern United States and Canada, with the greatest population densities being found in the prairie regions of the United States and Canada. The winter range extends along the southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States, from the Carolinas to Louisiana, as well as throughout Mexico into northern South America and northward along the Pacific coast of the United States into central California.
Blue-winged teal live on shallow ponds and seasonal and permanent wetlands.
The nest is typically a depression on the ground, located in a grassy area near water, lined with grasses and down. The typical clutch consists of 6 to 14 creamy white eggs. Ducklings are covered in yellow down with a gray-brown eye stripe, and are able to leave the nest soon after hatching.
Like most other ducks, the blue-winged teal feeds on aquatic invertebrates, seeds, and plants.
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>> Zoology >> Birds >> Order Anseriformes
This page was last updated on June 15, 2017.