Sunday, December 30, 2007

Green-winged Teal--Anas crecca

Green-winged Teal at Upper Newport Bay

Like the American Wigeon, the Green-winged Teal has a green stripe through its eye. It is the smallest dabbling duck in Orange County. According to the Natural History of Waterfowl by Frank S. Todd, the word teal may derive from words in medieval English and or Old Dutch meaning "small." It is true that teals are all small birds. The Green-winged Teal's most easily seen field marks are the chestnut head, the iridescent green stripe on on the side of the head, and the vertical, thin, white stripe down the male Green-winged Teal's side, and the dark bill.

Green-winged Teal dabbling at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Green-winged Teals eat a variety of aquatic foods, including aquatic invertebrates, aquatic vegetation, and aquatic plant seeds. They prefer shallow ponds or other shallow bodies of water. They can be found in either fresh or salt water.

Male Green-winged Teal at Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve

I have seen Green-winged Teals at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and at San Joaquin Wildlife Reserve. They would also be at other wetlands in the area. I have never seen them at community parks.

Male and female Green-winged Teal

Very few Green-winged Teals breed outside of Canada. The male and female pair up before they migrate to the breeding grounds.

Male and female Green-winged Teal at at Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve

The Green-winged Teal population is increasing despite being the second most hunted duck in the United States. Animal Diversity Web believes it is due in part to the inaccessibility of their breeding grounds.

Green-winged Teals at Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve in Orange County

Green-winged Teals are very easy to spot. When you are out birding wetlands, or shallow water areas, look for the duck with the rich red-brown head and the bright green stripe on the side of its head. The vertical white stripe on the side is another easy field mark. Enjoy watching the Green-winged Teal in Orange County.

Green-winged Teal from behind. Notice the two green stripes on either side of its head.

Duck Size

Green-winged Teal 14 " long Wingspan 23"

Blue-winged Teal 15.5 " long Wingspan 24"

Cinnamon Teal 16" long Wingspan 22"

Northern Shoveler 19" long Wingspan 30"

American Wigeon 20 " long Wingspan 32"

Northern Pintail 21" long Wingspan 32"

Mallard 23 " long Wingspan 35"

OC Birder Girl Links


The Wild Ducks of Orange County

American Wigeon--Anas americana

Cinnamon Teal--Anas cyanoptera

Mallards--Anas platyrhynchos

Northern Pintail--Anas acuta

Northern Shoveler--Anas clypeata

Places to see Green-winged Teals

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve aka Newport Back Bay

External Links

All About Birds: Green-winged Teal

Detailed page about the Green-winged Teal includes Cool Facts, Description, Similar Species, Sound, Range, Reproduction, and Other Names.

Animal Diversity Web: Green-winged Teal

Michigan University's great Animal Diversity Web tackles the Green-winged Teal covering habitat, reproduction, physical description, range, diet, conservation status and more.

BirdWeb: Green-winged Teal

Seattle Audubon site profiles the Green-winged Teal. Includes information on range, behavior, diet, nesting, migration status, conservation status, and more.

USGS: Green-winged Teal

Short, helpful article.

Virtual Bird's Natural History of Waterfowl: The Green-winged Teal

Long and detailed article on the the Green-winged Teal.

Species, Age and Sex Identification of Ducks Using Wing Plumage:
Green-winged Teal

From the US Geological Service. A short and well illustrated article about the wings of the Green-winged Teal.

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