The Green-winged Teal is a small dabbling duck with a green speculum.
Males are mostly gray, with a vertical white bar in front of each wing, and have a reddish head with a broad green patch behind each eye.
Females are mostly brown, with a buffy stripe on each side of the tail (see when sitting). Small bill and pale under-tail coverts help separate from other female ducks.
Seasonal change in appearanceMales in nonbreeding plumage resemble females.
JuvenileThe immature Green-winged Teal is similar to the adult female.
HabitatGreen-winged Teal inhabit rivers, marshes, and coastal estuaries.
DietGreen-winged Teal primarily eat seeds and other plant material, but will also eat insects and crustaceans
BehaviorThe Green-winged Teal swims or wades to filter mud, or gleans food from the surface of the water.
Green-winged Teal occur throughout much of the U.S. and Canada, breeding in the northern portions of the U.S. north to Alaska, and wintering across a broad swath of the central and southern U.S., as well parts of the northeastern U.S. The population has increased in recent decades.
Bent Life History
Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Green-winged Teal.
The shape of a bird's wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species' identification.
Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History
Fun FactsThe Green-winged Teal is the smallest dabbling duck in North America.
There are three subspecies of Green-winged Teal in the world, A. c. carolinensis in North America, A. c. crecca in Eurasia, and the non-migratory A. c. nimia in the Aleutian Islands.
VocalizationsFemale Green-winged Teal give a shrill "wee wee wee", while males give a shrill whistle.
The Green-winged Teal nest is a shallow depression lined with grasses, weeds, and down, and situated on land near water.
EggsNumber: Usually lay 6-11 eggs.
Color: Cream in color.
Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 20-24 days and leave the nest almost immediately, but cannot fly for about 5 weeks.