Small, slightly built, and slender-necked dabbling duck with rather flat crown and straight bill. Males has broad white supercilium, otherwise mottled brown head, breast, upperparts, and stern, contrasting with greyish flanks and white belly, long black and white scapulars, and pale blue-grey forewing. Female resembles female Teal but rather paler and head more patterned, with pale patch at base of longer bill, more distinct dark crown and eyestripe contrasting with light supercilium and further stripe across lower face. Speculum dull green edged in front and more narrowly behind with white. In flight, greyish (but not blue-grey) forewing and indistinct greenish-brown speculum characteristic.
Distinguished among genus as fully migratory, whole population changing habitat seasonally throughout west Palearctic. Breeds mainly within Mediterranean, steppe, and temperate climatic zones, with some overspill north into boreal and south into desert fringes. In west Palearctic, makes only brief localized use of marine or even of tidal estuarine habitats. Favours narrow or well compartmented, sheltered, and shallow standing fresh waters, merging into grassland, floodland, or other wetland, with plenty of floating and emergent vegetation, but not too tall or dense, unbroken, fringing cover. Habitat outside breeding season similar, but where suitable equivalents unavailable temporarily uses more exposed and poorer waters, or small ponds, ditches, and irrigation pools.
This species breeding in the temperate regions of Eurasia is totally migratory, and its European population is wintering entirely in sub-Saharan West Africa. It is still estimated at 2000000 individuals, but seems to decline following loss of habitat in the breeding areas by reclamation of wetlands or transformation into artificial lakes. In Africa also its wintering areas are threatened by reclamation and expansion of rice cultiv
Animal and plant materials collected mainly while swimming with head under water, somewhat less often up-ending briefly, and from surface. Often also snaps at individual items on or flying above surface.
This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 2,500,000-4,800,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]
Nest is build on ground in thick vegetation, grass, or rush tussocks. Usually close to water, within 20 m, rarely over 100 m. The species breeds in single pairs, not colonial. Nest is a shallow depression lined with leaves and grass. Clutch size is 8-9 eggs, rarely 6 or up to 14. Incubation period lasts 21-23 days and is carried out by the female. The young fledge after 35-40 days. This species is sexually mature at 1 year.
Highly migratory, wintering chiefly in sub-Saharan Africa, Indian subcontinent and SE Asia. Has occurred Azores. Iceland, Hawaii and Aleutian Is; also a few records from North Africa, particularly W coast.
- spanwidth min.: 59 cm
- spanwidth max.: 67 cm
- size min.: 37 cm
- size max.: 41 cm
- incubation min.: 21 days
- incubation max.: 23 days
- fledging min.: 35 days
- fledging max.: 40 days
- broods 1
- eggs min.: 7
- eggs max.: 10
- Conservation Status