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A photo of a Baikal Teal (Sibirionetta formosa), male
Baikal Teal, Male

Baikal Teal

Sibirionetta formosa

The Baikal teal (Sibirionetta formosa), also known as the bimaculate duck or squawk duck, is a dabbling duck with a distinctive appearance. The males, particularly in breeding plumage, are adorned with a striking green nape, yellow and black auriculars, neck, and throat, a dark crown, and a light brown breast with dark spots. They possess long, drooping dark scapulars and grey sides framed by white bars at the front and rear. Females resemble female green-winged teals but have a longer tail, a white spot at the base of the bill, and a white throat that extends to the back of the eye, complemented by a light eyebrow and a darker crown. The species measures between 39 and 43 centimeters in length and weighs approximately 1 pound.

Identification Tips

The breeding male Baikal teal is unmistakable with its unique coloration and patterns. Females and juveniles can be identified by their longer tails and specific facial markings compared to similar species. In eclipse plumage, the male resembles the female but has a richer reddish-brown coloration.

Habitat

The Baikal teal breeds in the forest zone of eastern Siberia, favoring pools on the tundra edge and swampy forests. During winter, it resides on lowland fresh waters.

Distribution

This migratory species breeds from the Yenisey basin in Siberia eastwards to Kamchatka and winters in East Asia, including South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and parts of China.

Behaviour

The Baikal teal is known for its migratory habits, traveling long distances between its breeding and wintering grounds.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of the Baikal teal include a variety of quacks and calls, which can be heard during their social interactions, particularly in their breeding grounds.

Breeding

The Baikal teal breeds in eastern Russia, with the female laying eggs and raising the young in the seclusion of the tundra and swampy forests.

Similar Species

The female Baikal teal may be confused with the female green-winged teal but can be distinguished by her longer tail and specific facial markings.

Diet and Feeding

As a dabbling duck, the Baikal teal feeds on a variety of aquatic plants, seeds, and small invertebrates, often tipping forward in the water to reach food below the surface.

Conservation Status

The Baikal teal is currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. Although previously classified as Vulnerable, conservation efforts have led to a significant increase in population numbers, with an estimated 1.07 million adults as of 2010.

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Baikal Teal Fun Facts

Did you know?
The Baikal Teal is named after the world's largest and deepest freshwater lake in Russia, where this species originates from.

Baikal Teals on Birda

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