Green-winged Teal

Anas crecca

Picture of a male green-winged teal
Image by ‘BS Thurner Hof’ on Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Physical: The green-winged teal is the smallest dabbling duck in North America, at 37 cm. They are named for the green patches on their upper wings. Males have a brown head with a green swatch across the eyes. The rest of their body is a mix of dappled grey, cream-colored tails, and white and black bands. Unlike most other ducks, males whistle instead of quacking. Females are mottled brown.

Habitat: Green-winged teals live on marshes, rivers, and bays. Summers are spent inland, while winters lead them to coastal coastal estuaries, tidal marshes, or shallow plant-filled inland lakes. You can find them in the Barnegat Bay during the winter.

Feeding: Their diet varies seasonally, according to their location. They feed mostly on seeds from grasses, sedges, and pondweeds. In the summer, they may tend more toward insects, crustaceans, molluscs, tadpoles, earthworms, and fish eggs. Green-winged teals will wade through the shallows, picking from the water’s surface, filtering through mud, or flipping forward into the water.

Breeding: Pairs form before they arrive on breeding grounds. Like the blue-winged teal, males have a variety of possible mating displays. They nest in meadows, open woodlands, or brush, as long as it’s within 200 ft of water. Females build the nest under a canopy of vegetation, and lay 6-11 cream-colored eggs, incubating for 20-24 days.

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