Common Teal

The Common Teal or Teal (Anas crecca) is a common and widespread duck which breeds in the northernmost areas of Europe and Asia. It is the Old World counterpart of the North American Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) with which it is sometimes considered conspecific.

This dabbling duck is strongly migratory and winters south to Africa and south Asia. It highly gregarious outside of the breeding season and will form large flocks. In flight, the fast, twisting flocks resemble waders’.

The Common Teal is considered to be the smallest dabbling duck. The breeding male has grey flanks and back, with a yellow rear end and a white-edged green speculum, obvious in flight or at rest. It has a chestnut head with a green eye patch. It is distinguished from drake Green-winged Teal by a horizontal, not vertical white flank stripe, and thin buff lines on its head.

The females are light brown, with plumage much like a female Mallard. They can be distinguished from most ducks on size and shape, and the speculum. Separation from female Green-winged Teal is problematic.

In non-breeding (eclipse) plumage, the drake looks more like the female.

It is a common inhabitant of sheltered wetlands with some taller vegetation, such as taiga bogs in the breeding season, and usually feeds by dabbling for plant food or grazing. It nests on the ground, near water and under cover.

This is a noisy species. The male has a clear whistle, whereas the female has a feeble “quack”.