The smallest dabbling duck in
the Americas, the green-winged teal is 13-17
inches long and weighs 13 ounces on average;
males are slightly larger than females.
Males have a cinnamon-colored
head with a distinctive green crescent spanning
from one eye around the back of the head to the
other eye; the sides and back are marked with
tiny black and white stripes; wings and tail are
tannish-brown, with pale yellow feathers along
the side of the tail. Females are entirely
tannish-brown except for a white chin and belly.
Both sexes have a narrow, black bill.
The green-winged teal breeds
throughout most of Canada, and from Alaska to
Maine, and winters in the western and southern
United States into Mexico and Central America. It
is found in shallow inland wetlands, beaver
ponds, and coastal marshes with heavy vegetation
and muddy bottoms. Although it prefers fresh
water, it will inhabit salt water areas, as long
as there is fresh water available for drinking.
The breeding season runs from
September through November, and egg laying
usually occurs the following May. The nest, which
usually consists of a depression in the ground
lined with grasses hidden by low vegetation, is
built entirely by the female while the male
watches; he will leave the female as soon as she
starts laying eggs. The average clutch consists
of five or six eggs, which take about 23 days to
hatch. Chicks are able to forage on their own
soon after hatching, but typically stay near
their mother for protection until fledging, which
takes about 35 days. Sexual maturity is reached
at 180 days.
The green-winged teal will feed
on almost any plant or animal in high abundance,
but tends to go after insects, marine
invertebrates and seeds of marine vegetation.
Other Habits and
Green-winged teals are rapid,
agile flyers, and are the only ducks known to
scratch while in flight. They do not dive for
food, but will dive to escape predators. A fairly
social duck, this species usually gathers in
fairly small flocks, but flocks of thousands are
not uncommon. They are not known to be
Males give out a distinctive
high-pitched "preep-preep" call, while
females communicate with "quacks."
genus & species Anas crecca
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