Return to Easily Identify Dabbling Ducks   

Green Winged Teal

Anas carolinensis and Anas crecca

Dabbling Ducks Family

Waterfowl Identification

Male Green Winged Teal
Female Green Winged Teal
Similar Waterfowl:
Green-winged teal are the smallest of the North American ducks with a short neck and small bill. Male green-winged teal have a chestnut head with an iridescent green to purple patch extending from the eyes to the nape of the neck. The chest is pinkish-brown with black speckles, and the back, sides, and flanks are vermiculated gray, separated from the chest by a white bar. The wing coverts are brownish-gray with a green speculum. The bill is dark slate and the legs and feet are dark gray. Female green-winged teal are mottled brown with a dark brown line that extends from the bill through the eye. The bill is dark gray and the legs and feet are olive-gray to brownish-gray.
Typical Size:
The male and female average 14 inches in length and weigh 3/4 of a pound. They have a wingspan of 23 inches.
They prefer small and shallow permanent ponds near boreal forests and with an abundance of emergent vegetation, but also nest in prairie pothole country or in areas with dense emergent vegetation.
Green-winged teal breed from Alaska, across Canada, into the Maritime Provinces, south into central California, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Female green-winged teal lay an average of 8 to 9 eggs.
Green-winged teal feed on seeds of sedges, smartweeds, pondweeds, and grasses, aquatic insects, mollusks, crustaceans and tadpoles found while foraging in and adjacent to mudflats or while dabbling in shallow water.
Green-winged teal have an extensive wintering range, having been recorded as far north as Alaska and Newfoundland and as far south as northern South America.
Flyway Patterns:
Green winged teal are most abundant along the Mississippi Flyway.
Flight Formation:
Small compact flocks in a direct line. Flight is swift, strong and erratic. Speeds reach 60 MPH.
Males have various whistles and trills while females have a high pitched QUACK.

Green Winged Teal Flight and Plumage Characteristics

This guide will help you recognize green winged teal on the wing - it emphasizes their fall and winter plumage patterns as well as size, shape, and flight characteristics. Quite hardy - some birds stay as far north as open water is found. The smallest and one of the most common of our ducks. Their tiny size gives the impression of great speed, but mallards can fly faster. Their flight is often low, erratic, with the entire flock twisting and turning as one unit. They nest as far north as Alaska, and migrate in all four flyways. Early fall drakes are usually still in full eclipse plumage. Hens have a slight quack while drakes whistle and twitter.