Text Size: A  A  A

Green-winged Teal

Anas crecca

Green-winged teals vary in appearance depending on sex. Males have a chestnut head with a green, crescent-shaped patch running through the eye to the back of the head. Females are mottled brown all over. (opusbloo/Flickr)
{photos} {photo} {title} - {description} {/photo} {/photos}
Green-winged teals vary in appearance depending on sex. Males have a chestnut head with a green, crescent-shaped patch running through the eye to the back of the head. Females are mottled brown all over. (opusbloo/Flickr)

The green-winged teal is a small dabbling duck with iridescent green patches on its head and wings. It lives in tidal marshes and wetlands throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers from autumn through spring.

Appearance:

  • Males and females have different patterns and coloring
  • Males have a chestnut head with a green, crescent-shaped patch running through the eye to the back of the head. Their body is mostly gray, and they have a yellowish tail and a white vertical line in front of the wings.
  • Females are mottled brown all over
  • Both sexes have green wing patches (called specula) with white borders
  • Grows to 14.5 inches with a wingspan of 24 inches

Habitat:

  • Found on large tidal marshes and wetlands and nearby shallow waters

Range:

  • Visits the Chesapeake Bay region beginning in autumn
  • Leaves in late winter to migrate back to its northern breeding grounds

Feeding:

  • Eats mainly seeds from bay grasses and aquatic plants
  • Will also eat small invertebrates
  • Feeds at the water’s surface or by “tipping up” its tail and submerging its head to reach food underwater

Predators:

  • Humans are the green-winged teal’s greatest predator
  • Skunks, raccoons and red foxes prey upon young and eggs
  • Can dive underwater to escape predators

Flight:

  • Takes off by flying straight up from the water
  • Can be identified in flight by its iridescent green wing patches with white borders

Voice:

  • Males whistle
  • Females quack

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

  • Does not nest and breed in the Bay region
  • Nests throughout most of Canada, Alaska and the northern Midwestern United States

Other Facts:

  • Also known as the common teal
  • The smallest species of dabbling duck
  • Gets its name from its iridescent green wing patches
  • The second most commonly hunted duck in the U.S., after mallards

Sources and Additional Information:

Places:




Click tabs to swap between type and habitat.

410 Severn Avenue / Suite 112
Annapolis, Maryland 21403
Tel: (800) YOUR-BAY / Fax: (410) 267-5777
Directions to the Bay Program Office
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
©2012 Chesapeake Bay Program | All Rights Reserved