Description of the Green-winged Teal


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.


green-winged teal


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.


green-winged teal

Seasonal change in appearance

Males in nonbreeding plumage resemble females.


The immature Green-winged Teal is similar to the adult female.


Green-winged Teal inhabit rivers, marshes, and coastal estuaries.


Green-winged Teal primarily eat seeds and other plant material, but will also eat insects and crustaceans


The 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.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Green-winged Teal.

Wing Shape

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 Facts

The 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.


Female 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.

Number: 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.