Home PageBirds of Devon and Cornwall Teal  

Latin name - Anas crecca

Teals are small dabbling ducks, in size lying between a pigeon and a mallard. Their legs are black, grey and brown and they have bright green wing patches (speculum) in flight. The sexes are dissimilar; the males having chestnut coloured heads with broad green eye-patches, a spotted chest, grey flanks and a black edged yellow tail whilst females are much duller, mottled brown in colour. Their beaks are blackish-grey but the females sometimes have an orange base to the bill. It is a highly gregarious duck outside the breeding season and can form large flocks congregating in low-lying wetlands in the south and west of the UK during winter; most of these being migrants from north-west Europe. During the breeding season there are far fewer in numbers breeding in wet moor-land, heath pools and bogs. Teal feed on the surface of the water, often wiggling their flat bills along as they swim slowly in order to catch aquatic insects. Unlike other dabbling ducks, teal prefer to feed at the surface instead of tipping up to forage beneath the water. They are also far more agile on the ground than most other ducks.

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