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Blue Winged Teal

Anas discors

Dabbling Ducks Family

Waterfowl Identification

Male Blue Winged Teal
Female Blue Winged Teal
Similar Waterfowl:
Female Cinnamon Teal
Male blue-winged teal have a slate gray head and neck, a black edged white crescent in front of the eyes and a blackish crown. The breast and sides are tan with dark brown speckles and there is a white spot on the side of the rump. Most of the upper wing coverts are blue-gray, the secondaries form an iridescent green speculum, and the under wing is whitish. The bill is black and the legs and feet are yellowish to orange. Female blue-winged teal have a brownish-gray head with a darker crown and eye-stripe. The breast and sides are brown, the upper parts are olive brown, and the upper wing coverts are bluish, but less vibrant than the drake. The bill is gray-black and the legs and feet are dull yellow-brown.
Typical Size:
The male and female average 15 inches in length and weigh 1 pound. They have a wingspan of 24 inches.
Habitats are diverse, including mangrove swamps, fresh and brackish estuaries, and shallow wetlands.
Blue-winged teal breed primarily in the northern prairies and parklands of central North America. Their relative abundance generally increases from west to east and north to south within the prairie pothole region. Females change breeding sites from year to year in response to changing wetland conditions and lay an average of 10 eggs.
Blue-winged teal dabble to feed on vegetative parts of aquatic plants, seeds, and large amounts of aquatic invertebrates found in shallowly flooded wetlands.
Blue-winged teal are generally the first ducks south in the fall and the last north in the spring. They migrate from the prairie pothole region to wintering areas in Florida, the Caribbean Islands, the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, Mexico, and Central and South America.
Flyway Patterns:
Blue Winged Teals are most abundantly found in the Mississippi and the Atlantic flyways.
Flight Formation:
Small compact flocks in a direct line. Flight is swift, strong and erratic. Speeds reach 60 MPH.
The male has a whistling PEEP and the female has a high pitched QUACK.

Blue Winged Teal Flight and Plumage Characteristics

This guide will help you recognize blue winged teal on the wing - it emphasizes their fall and winter plumage patterns as well as size, shape, and flight characteristics. Their twisting turning flight and small size gives the illusion of great speed, as the compact flocks commonly fly low over the marshes. High-pitched peeping and nasal quacking is commonly heard in spring and to a lesser extent in fall and they are considered more vocal than most ducks. These teal are among the last ducks to migrate in the spring and each fall are one of the last .