Male Green-winged Teal have a dark grey body with a russet head, and a large, dark-green eye-patch extending to its nape. Females are light mottled brown with a dark eye-line characteristic of all dabbler females. When breeding, both sexes have a white belly that is conspicuous in flight and a vibrant dark-green speculum with buff borders; often the only obvious color visible
Green-winged Teal prefer wooded ponds but can also be found in deciduous wooded ponds surrounded by grassy upland areas. During migration, both spring and fall, green-wings tend to choose shallow inland wetlands with abundant floating and emergent vegetation, but also use tidal mudflats more often than any other duck. Wintering Greenwings will use freshwater shallow marshes and riparian sloughs, but can also be found in saltwater estuaries and agricultural areas.
The nominate race of this duck inhabits northern Eurasia and the carolinensis race North America. For practical reasons, the European populations can be divided in two sub-populations, separated mainly by their wintering quarters. The first, estimated at 400000 individuals and undergoing a definite increase, is wintering along the Atlantic coasts from Denmark to the British Isles and Aquitaine. During very strong winters it reaches Spain and Portugal, but in mild winters the birds of the Netherlands and the British Isles are almost sedentary. The second population is estimated at 750000-1375000 individuals, but its trends are unknown. It winters in the Black Sea region and around the Mediterranean. Only a small fraction of these birds is reaching West Africa
The Green-winged Teals diet is very diverse, relying on insects and aquatic vegetation. An opportunistic feeder, the Greenwing varies its diet according to what is most abundant at the time. Vegetation is eaten mostly in the fall and winter, consisting mainly of seeds of grasses, sedge and emergent vegetation, as well as the occasional agricultural crop. During the breeding season, Greenwings rely more on animal matter such as aquatic insects, larvae, mollusks, crustaceans and sometimes fish eggs. A true dabbler, Greenwings often feed by tipping-up with their head under the surface of the water or collecting seeds and insects by skimming the water with its bill. More than any other duck, Greenwings will feed along mud flats, foraging for seeds, insects and mollusks.
This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence >10,000,000 km2. It has a large global population estimated to be 6,500,000-7,600,000 individuals1. 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]
Greenwings form pair ponds relatively late in the season compared with other dabbling ducks, often not until late January all the way to March. Although they break their pair bond each year, Greenwings are monogamous throughout the breeding season; however, occasionally paired males will attempt forced extra-pair copulations with other females. After an elaborate sequence of displays, the female will show her approval by performing her inciting display next to her mate of choice. Once the pair is ready to mate, they will perform some reciprocated head pumping, and then will copulate on the water. Nesting females will choose an area to nest that is well concealed, with thick brush, sedge or grasses. Nesting females will choose an area to nest that is well concealed, with thick brush, sedge or grasses. She will often scrape out an area or choose a depression on the ground to construct a nest bowl by using surrounding grasses, twigs and leaves. Like other ducks, the female will also use her body feathers to aid in keeping the eggs warm, dry and concealed. The surrounding vegetation will usually form a type of canopy, concealing the nest from predators. In most cases, a female will lay one egg per day until the clutch is complete, usually 10-12 eggs. Shortly after incubation begins, the male will abandon his mate and begin to moult. During this process, he will shed his breeding plumage into a drab, hen-like plumage and remain flightless for several weeks, until growing back into his breeding plumage in preparation for fall migration and another breeding season.
The female, meanwhile, will incubate her eggs for approximately 3 weeks after her last egg is laid. Once her ducklings have hatched, she moves them to water within the first day, where the precocial young will be reared. Often ducklings are unable to maintain a high body temperature when first hatched, and the female will continue to brood during wet and cold periods.
Partially migratory, northernmost breeding birds descending to lower latitudes in winter, as far S as equator (Kenya), but breeders of more temperate regions present throughout year.
- spanwidth min.: 53 cm
- spanwidth max.: 59 cm
- size min.: 34 cm
- size max.: 38 cm
- incubation min.: 21 days
- incubation max.: 23 days
- fledging min.: 25 days
- fledging max.: 30 days
- broods 1
- eggs min.: 8
- eggs max.: 12
- Conservation Status