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Green-winged Teal

Anas crecca

Length: 12 to 16 inches Wingspan: 20 to 24 inches Seasonality: Summer / Migrant

ID Keys MALES: Rusty head with green patch extending behind eye, white bar on site of chest,  yellow "tail-light"

ID Keys FEMALES: Gray bill, small size, dark eyeline, plumage similar to many female dabbling ducks

Green-winged Teal - Anas creccaGreen-winged Teal are a common, fast-flying dabbling duck, often forming tight compact flocks as they wheel and turn in unison.  Green-winged Teal tolerate cold weather better than other teal, and can thus be found further north in the winter.  They are the smallest of the "dabbling ducks" found in the United States.

Habitat: Marshes and shallow ponds and lakes in the breeding season.  Found in similar habitats during winter and in migration, but can also be found in shallow coastal bays and estuaries.

Diet: Primarily feeds on plant material, including seeds, grasses, and aquatic plants.  Also will eat insects, crustaceans, and mollusks.

Behavior: Usually travels in small flocks, although at major migration stopovers, flocks may number in the thousands.  They rest out of the water more than many ducks, and can sometimes be found on low-hanging branches and logs.  Foraging is primarily by upending in shallow water, filtering mud through the bill, and by picking items from the water's surface.

Nesting: Late May and June

Song: Green-winged Teal song 

Migration: Summers throughout Canada, Alaska, and much of the northern and western United States. Winters in the southern half of the United States and points south. 

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Green-winged Teal sightings

Similar Species: Male generally distinctive, female difficult to correctly identify.

Conservation Status: Generally stable throughout it's range, probably increasing in numbers.  The IUCN currently lists the Green-winged Teal as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Green-winged Teal

2) Audubon Guide - Green-winged Teal

3) BirdWeb - Green-winged Teal

Photo Information: April 1st, 2012 - Dewey Gevik Nature Area near Sioux Falls, South Dakota - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Green-winged Teal photos.


Click on the range map for a higher-resolution view
Green-winged Teal - North American Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common migrant throughout South Dakota.  Uncommon summer resident, most common in the northeastern part of the state.  Rare in winter where open water exists.

Additional Green-winged Teal Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
Green-winged Teal - Anas creccaGreen-winged Teal - Anas creccaGreen-winged Teal - Anas creccaGreen-winged Teal - Anas crecca