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A photo of a Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca), male
Eurasian Teal, Male

Eurasian Teal

Anas crecca

The Eurasian teal, also known as the common teal or Eurasian green-winged teal, is a diminutive and charming dabbling duck. It is the smallest extant member of its family, with a compact body and a swift, agile flight. The male, in its breeding finery, is particularly striking with its chestnut head, iridescent green eye-patch, and the distinctive white stripe that runs along its body, which has lent its name to the color teal.

Identification Tips

The drake Eurasian teal, in its nuptial plumage, can be identified by its grey appearance from a distance, with a dark head, a yellowish posterior, and a prominent white stripe along the flank. The hen is more subdued in color, with a mottled brown appearance similar to a miniature mallard hen. In flight, look for the iridescent green speculum bordered with white and the fast, twisting flocks that can resemble waders.

Habitat

During the breeding season, the Eurasian teal favors sheltered freshwater wetlands with tall vegetation, such as taiga bogs or small lakes and ponds with extensive reed beds. In winter, it can often be found in brackish waters and even sheltered inlets along the seashore.

Distribution

The Eurasian teal breeds across temperate Eurosiberia and migrates southward in winter. Its range overlaps in temperate Europe, where it can be found year-round in some regions. Significant wintering populations are found around the Mediterranean, in Japan, South Asia, and isolated locations such as Lake Victoria and the Nile Valley.

Behaviour

Outside of the breeding season, the Eurasian teal is highly sociable, forming large flocks. It is nimble on the ground and in flight, often feeding by dabbling, upending, or grazing. It may even dive to reach food. The species is known for its clear, far-carrying whistle and is diurnal during the breeding season, shifting to crepuscular or nocturnal feeding in winter.

Song & Calls

The male Eurasian teal emits a clear whistling "cryc" or "creelycc," while the female's call is a softer "keh" or "neeh" quack. These vocalizations are not particularly loud but are distinctive and carry well over distances.

Breeding

Breeding pairs form in winter quarters and arrive at breeding grounds together. Nesting occurs on the ground, concealed near water. The female lays a clutch of 5-16 eggs, which she incubates for 21-23 days. Ducklings are precocial and leave the nest shortly after hatching, with the mother tending to them for about 25-30 days until they fledge.

Similar Species

The Eurasian teal can be confused with the North American green-winged teal, but the former can be distinguished by the horizontal white stripe on the drake's body and the lack of a vertical white bar at the breast sides.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Eurasian teal varies seasonally. During the breeding season, it primarily consumes aquatic invertebrates. In winter, it shifts to seeds of aquatic plants and grasses. The teal is adaptable in its foraging, taking advantage of various food sources depending on availability.

Conservation Status

The Eurasian teal is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN. While its population is experiencing a slow decline, possibly due to habitat loss, it is not currently considered threatened. Conservation efforts focus on habitat protection, particularly in wintering grounds.

Eurasian Teal Sounds

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Recorded by: © 
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Eurasian Teal Fun Facts

Did you know?
The colour teal was named after the Teal's facial feathers.

Eurasian Teals on Birda

Sightings

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