Teal

Scientific name: Anas crecca

Did you know: Teals are known for their unique group name, a ‘spring’, due to their remarkable ability to take off suddenly and vertically from the water!

What Do Teals Look Like? (how to identify them)

Teals, the smallest of dabbling ducks, exhibit distinct colours and patterns

Male teals boast a chestnut head with a striking green patch near the eye, a speckled chest, and grey sides, highlighted by a yellow-tailed border. In contrast, female teals display a mottled brown plumage. 

Both sexes share a notable feature: vivid green wing patches visible during flight. These ducks are commonly found in UK’s marshlands and exhibit a blend of colours that make them easily distinguishable from other duck species.

Differences Between Male And Female Teals

Male and female teals can be differentiated by their distinct colouration. The males, or drakes, are characterised by their grey bodies, speckled breasts, and the notable chestnut head with a green eye patch. 

Females, or hens, are predominantly mottled brown, which offers camouflage in their natural habitat. However, both genders share the bright green wing patch, a key identifying feature, especially visible during flight.

What Do Teals Eat?

Teals have a varied diet that changes with the seasons. During breeding seasons, they primarily consume aquatic invertebrates like insects, crustaceans, and molluscs. 

In the colder months, their diet shifts to seeds and grains, including those of aquatic plants and grasses. This dietary flexibility helps them thrive in diverse habitats across the UK.

Where Do Teals Live? (inc. migration info)

Teals are adaptable birds, residing in various habitats across the UK. During breeding seasons, they prefer northern moors and mires. In winter, they migrate to low-lying wetlands in the south and west. The UK plays host to a significant portion of the north-west European wintering teal population, including many migrants from the Baltic and Siberia, making it a crucial habitat for these birds.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Teals)

Teals are known for their distinctive calls. Males produce a clear, whistle-like sound, while females have a softer quack. These calls are not only a means of communication but also play a role in mating rituals. The male’s whistle is particularly notable for being clear and far-reaching, an adaptation to their open wetland habitats.

Fun Teal Facts (kid friendly)

  • Teals are the smallest ducks in the UK, making them easy to spot due to their size.
  • They can take off almost vertically from the water, a skill that led to their group name, ‘spring’.
  • Teals migrate long distances, travelling from places as far as Siberia to the UK for the winter.
  • The bright green patch on their wings is visible only during flight and is a spectacular sight.
  • Male teals change their appearance after the breeding season, looking more like females to blend in better.
  • These ducks are very social outside the breeding season, forming large flocks.
  • Teals are not just dabblers; they can also upend and even dive for food.
  • They are known for their fast and agile flight, often resembling waders in the air.
  • In the UK, teals are more commonly seen in the winter, with their population increasing significantly due to migrating birds.
  • Despite their small size, teals are quite noisy, with males having a distinctive cry call and females a softer quack.

Teal Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Teal

Diet: Seeds and small invertebrates.
Bird Family: Ducks, geese and swans
Length: 34-38cm
Wingspan: 58-64cm
Weight: 240-360g
Scientific Name: Anas crecca

The Teal Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December