Blue-winged Teal are widespread and numerous, though their population has ups and downs depending on habitat conditions (wetter years tend to be better for ducks) and nest predation, which in some years can destroy up to 90% of nests. Adult Blue-winged Teal have an average maximum life span of about 12 years, which is a bit less than for similar ducks.
Like most ducks, Blue-winged Teal lay relatively large clutches, usually about 10 eggs, to help make up for the large number of nests that are lost to predators such as foxes, coyotes, hawks, and Great Horned Owls. Ring-necked Pheasants occasionally lay eggs in teal nests.
Pair in flight. Note the broken eye ring and the dark line through the eye on the female. Easy to see in a photograph, not so easy when the duck is moving.
Note the green speculum showing on this Blue-winged Teal, perhaps leading to mis-identification as a Green-winged Teal. Several species of dabbling ducks have green speculums. Also note the fairly large bill. Photograph by Greg Lavaty.
Sam is the founder of Birdzilla.com. He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.