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Waterfowl Anseriformes Family Birds – The World Of Ducks
Waterfowl Anseriformes family birds

Waterfowl Anseriformes Family Birds – The World Of Ducks

The term waterfowl is used to describe any member of the order Anseriformes. A series of articles describes all the waterfowl. This specific article describes the “dabbling ducks” which belong to family Anatidae, subfamily Anatinae.

Anseriformes

Most species of the order Anseriformes spend a considerable amount of time in water. In fact, they are called waterfowls. Their webbed feet make for efficient swimming. A few species spend little time in water and thus their feet are only partially webbed. Most waterfowl are also good flyers, many migrating long distances to escape the cold and others migrating shorter distances for optimizing their food supply. All species, except the screamers, have a wide and relatively flat bill. The shape of a species bill and also their tongue is a function of their diet.

Considering the entire order, they eat aquatic plants, grasses, sedges, algae, plankton, insects, insect larvae, mollusks, crustaceans, fish, fruits, grains, rice. Most species are monogamous and if they lose a partner seem to mourn. Males are larger and heavier than females. The chicks are well developed when they hatch and can walk almost immediately.

The order Anseriformes has 3 familes: Anatidae, Anhimidae, Anseranatidae. Family Anatidae is comprised of the ducks, swans, and geese which amounts to about 160 species. Family Anhimidae is made up of 3 screamer species while family Anseranatidae has only one species, the magpie goose. Since these latter two families contain so few species, it seems appropriate to consider the entire order in this series of articles.

Anatidae

The Anatidae family has the following subfamiles:

  • Anatinae – Dabbling ducks
  • Anserinae – Geese, swans
  • Aythyinae – Diving ducks
  • Dendrocygninae – Whistling ducks
  • Merginae – Sea-ducks
  • Oxyurinae – Stiff-tailed ducks
  • Plectropterinae – Spur-winged goose
  • Stictonettinae – Freckled duck
  • Tadorninae – Shelducks, shelgeese

Dabbling Ducks

The members of subfamily Anatinae are refered to as dabbling ducks because they do not totally submerge when feeding and are often seen with just their rears showing as they search for food. Because of their feeding method, dabbling ducks have evolved to be more buoyant than diving ducks. The dabbling duck only rarely dives. In fact, the stiff-tailed ducks that do dive and yet have been placed in Anatinae, is placed by some (including this author) in its own sub-family.

Not all species in this subfamily have “duck” in their name. Other names used are gadwall, garganey, mallard, pintail, shoveler, teal, and wigeon. The genus that contains the most species is Anas. This genus used to contain even more species, as it has often been a “catch all” for species that were only distantly related.

More species may be removed in the future. Many of the anas species are closely related to mallards. Mallards are a very wide spread species and have been so for a very long time. After a considerable time, “mallards” in a particular region have evolved to have their own characterestics thus leading to a new species. But “true” mallards may inter-breed wild mallard-like species thus producing hybrids which can present identification problems.

Speculum

The speculum is a patch on the upper surface of secondary feathers. For the mallard show below, it is the bright blue patch plus the white borders.

Dabbling ducks
Image By: Ykpaihcbka

Not all birds have speculums. The dabbling ducks have especially vivid speculums many of which are iridescent. The speculum is best seen while the duck is in flight; when the duck is at rest the speculum may be partially or completely hidden. Very often careful observation of a duck’s speculum is sufficient to identify the species. Pay attention not to just the main color of the speculum, but also the top and bottom borders. These borders are often referred to as the “leading edge” and “trailing edge” respectively.

A duck’s speculum can be considered to be its barcode. Read it carefully and you can know the species. Of course speculums did not evolve to make birders happy! They must have evolved to help ducks easily recognize kindred spirits. In the material that follows, when possible a speculum image is included for each species.

Habitat And Diet

It is not surprising that the dabbling duck subfamily preferred habitat is water. Most prefer freshwater, at least for a considerable portion of the year. Some will choose brackish or saline habitats in the winter. The purpose of dabbling is to obtain food which implies that dabbling duck prefer shallow wetlands so they can reach the bottom. The typical dabbling duck’s diet is comprised of aquatic vegetables and insects, seeds, crustaceans, and mollusks. In a number of species, the juveniles often have a higher proportion of invertebrates than the more vegetarian adults.

1. Genus Amazonetta

1.1. Brazilian Teal, Amazonetta brasiliensis

Brazilian Teal
Image By: Dario Sanches – Brazil

Description: The male Brazilian teal has a chestnut-brown back and crown with greyish white cheeks. The upper-breast is pale chestnut-brown with black spots. The lower-breast and belly are buff and the tail is black. The female is similar with a white spot at the base of the bill and white spot in front of the eye. Males have a red bill, and females have a black bill.

Range: Eastern South America.

Habitat: Freshwater with dense vegetation nearby.

Diet: Seeds, fruits, roots, and insects.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Brazilian Teal habitat
Image By: Peterwchen
Brazilian Teal aspects
Image By: Claudio Timm
Brazilian Teal range
Image By: Pedro De Paula
Brazilian Teal description
Image By: John Proctor
Brazilian Teal plumage
Image By: Claudio Timm

2. Genus Anas

This genus is the prototype for dabbling ducks. Most of the species are buoyant and will “dabble” with the head under water and the rear above water pointing skyward. The genus contains many species that are termed teals. In general, the “teals” are smaller than the “ducks”.

2.1. African Black Duck, Anas sparsa

African Black Duck
Image By: Peter Steward – Kenya

Description: The African black duck has dark brown plumage with white marks on its back and tail. It has a dark bill and the legs and feet are orange. It has a dark blue-green speculum with white leading and trailing edges.

Range: Central and southern Africa.

Habitat: Rivers and streams during the day, open water at night.

Diet: Plants, seeds, fish, frogs, larvae, snails.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

African Black Duck habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
African Black Duck aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
African Black Duck feathering
Image By: Dick – World Of Birds, South Africa

2.2. American Black Duck, Anas rubripes

American Black Duck
Image By: Dick – Acadia National Park, Maine

Description: The American black duck has a dark brown body, dark eyes, orange legs. The female has a dull green bill, the male has a yellow bill with a black tip. It has a blue speculum with a black leading edge and black and white trailing edge. It is the darkest duck in its range; however, it interbreeds with the mallard duck so mixed offspring can cause confusion.

Range: Eastern North America, Bahamas.

Habitat: Lakes, ponds, bogs, swamps.

Diet: Seeds, greens, tubers, snails, crustaceans.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

American Black Duck description
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
American Black Duck aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
American Black Duck habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

2.3. Eastern Spot-Billed Duck, Anas zonorhyncha

Eastern Spot-Billed Duck
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The eastern spot-billed duck has a black bill tipped with bright yellow. This yellow tip helps to identify the species and lead to its name. When visible, the blue speculum is striking. The speculum has a black leading edge and black plus white trailing edged. The legs and feet are orange. The plumage is mainly brown and grey, the head and neck are paler. There is a dark eye-line and bold white supercilium. The eastern spot-billed duck and the Indian spot-billed duck were formerly considered conspecific.

Range: Breeds in northeast Asia; winters in south Asia and the Philippines.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands as well as coastal brackish wetlands. The wetlands are preferably with vegetation cover.

Diet: Mainly plants; also aquatic insects, mollusks, snails.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Eastern Spot-Billed Duck aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Eastern Spot-Billed Duck feathering
Image By: Alpsdake

2.4. Indian Spot-Billed Duck, Anas poecilorhyncha

Indian Spot-Billed Duck
Image By: Lip Kee

Description: The Indian spot-billed duck has a red patch at the base of its bill. The male’s patch becomes brighter and bigger during breeding season. The spot is absent in subspecies A. p. haringtoni. The bill is black tipped with bright yellow. It has a pale green speculum bordered with black and white. The legs and feet are orange. The plumage is mainly black and grey with a scaly appearance. The head and neck are paler. There is a dark eye-line. The eastern spot-billed duck and the Indian spot-billed duck were formerly considered conspecific.

Range: Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Laos

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands, preferably with vegetation cover.

Diet: Mainly plants; also aquatic insects, mollusks, snails.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Indian Spot-Billed Duck habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Indian Spot-Billed Duck aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Indian Spot-Billed Duck feathering
Image By: Davidvraju

2.5. Laysan Duck, Anas laysanensis

Laysan Duck
Image By: Forest And Kim Starr

Description: The Laysan duck, also known as the Laysan teal, has mainly dark brown plumage. There is a dark purple-green speculum with a white trailing edge. It has a prominent white eye-ring plus orange legs and feet. The male has a dark green bill with black blotching, while the female has an orange bill with black blotching. It flies poorly, preferring to walk with its bill close to the ground to catch insects.

Range: Laysan island of Hawaii.

Habitat: Shallow water, mudflats.

Diet: Insects, algae, seeds, leaves.

Conservation status: The Layson duck is Critically Endangered due to a small population restricted to a small island. They are Vulnerable to introduced pests such as rabbits.

Laysan Duck habitat
Image By: Jimmy Breeden
Laysan Duck aspects
Image By: Caleb Slemmons

2.6. Meller’s Duck, Anas melleri

Meller's Duck
Image By: Sarefo

Description: The Meller’s duck is similar to a large female mallard, However, it easy to tell them apart because the Meller’s head is quite uniform in color – there is no dark eye-line and pale supercilium above. The speculum feathers (secondary wing feathers) are green and are bordered in white. The rest of the plumage is dark brown. Its pale grey bill is quite large; the legs and feet are orange.

Range: Eastern Madagascar.

Habitat: Fresh water such as: lakes, ponds, marshes, rice fields.

Diet: Insects, plants,seeds.

Conservation status: The Meller’s duck is Endangered becaue of habitat loss. There are breeding programs and that will hopefully preserve the species, even though the Madagascar landscape is continuing to degrade.

Meller's Duck habitat
Image By: Lt Shears – Louisville Zoo

2.7. Mottled Duck, Anas fulvigula

Mottled Duck
Image By: Dick Daniels – Florida

Description: The mottled duck has a dark mottled body, lighter head and neck, orange legs and dark eyes. Both sexes have a shiny green-blue speculum (wing patch), which is not bordered with white. There is a black mark at gape (where bill joins face). The male’s bill is bright yellow; the female’s is deep to pale orange. The mottled ducks bright bill with its black spot at the gape, plus its pale face should distinguish it from similar species such as the Anericn black duck or mallard.

Range: Southeast North America.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands such as ponds, marshes, flooded fields.

Diet: Mainly plants. Also aquatic insects and mollusks.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Mottled Duck habitat
Image By: T Davis – Florida
Mottled Duck aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Florida
Mottled Duck range
Image By: Tom Friedel – Florida

2.8. Pacific Black Duck, Anas superciliosa

Pacific Black Duck
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights

Description: The Pacific black duck, also known in New Zealand as the grey duck, has a dark body, a paler head with a dark crown and facial stripes. The legs are dark yellow. In flight it shows a Iridescent green speculum which can appear blue. The underwing is pale. All plumages are similar. Hybrids between the Pacific black duck and mallards may cause the former’s gene pool to tend more towards mallard characteristics.

Range: Australasia.

Habitat: Variety of wetlands as long as they have vegetation.

Diet: Mainly seeds and aquatic plants. Also small crustaceans, mollusks and aquatic insects.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Pacific Black Duck habitat
Image By: Oystercatcher
Pacific Black Duck closeup
Image By: Dick Daniels – Australia
Pacific Black Duck feathering
Image By: Birdsaspoetry
Pacific Black Duck aspects
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights

2.9. Philippine Duck, Anas luzonica

Philippine Duck
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The Philippine duck has a black crown, nape and eye stripe. The head and neck are cinnamon, the legs greyish brown, and the bill is blue grey. The rest of body is greyish brown with a bright blue/green speculum.

Range: Philippines, mostly on Luzon and Mindanao.

Habitat: A variety of wetlands. It prefers shallow freshwater marshes.

Diet: Shrimp, fish, insects, and vegetation.

Conservation status: The Philippine duck is Vulnerable because of overhunting and habitat loss.

Philippine Duck closeup
Image By: Wayne Dumbleton
Philippine Duck feathering
Image By: Mark Harper – Luzon, Philippines
Philippine Duck habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Philippine Duck aspects
Image By: Ken Billington

2.10. Yellow-Billed Duck, Anas undulata

Yellow-Billed Duck
Image By: Dick – Jacksonville Zoo, Florida

Description: The yellow-billed duck has mottled grey plumage. The head and neck are dark grey while the bright yellow bill has a black median line. It has a greenish-blue speculum bordered with white.

Range: Africa (southern and eastern).

Habitat: Variety of wetlands as long as they have vegetation. Brackish coastal water is also acceptable.

Diet: Vegetation (aquatic and terrestrial). seeds, insects, mollusks.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Yellow-Billed Duck habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Yellow-Billed Duck aspects
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights
Yellow-Billed Duck feathering
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights

2.11. Koloa, Anas wyvilliana

Koloa
Image By: Dick

Description: The koloa is also known as the Hawaiian duck. Both male and female koloas resemble a female mallard. They have mottled dark brown plumage. The speculum varies from green to blue and is bordered with white. The male koloa has a darker head and neck than the female koloa. Koloas often inter-breed with mallards and it is to tell visually a duck is a pure koloa.

Range: Hawaiian Islands.

Habitat: Tall wetland grasses; streams. Usually found in pairs, not large groups.

Diet: Freshwater vegetation, mollusks, insects, and other aquatic invertebrates.

Conservation status: The koloa is Endangered because of habitat loss, non-native plants, habitat loss, and disease.

Koloa range
Image By: Dick Daniels – Maui, Hawaii
Koloa habitat
Image By: USDA

2.12. Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos

Mallard
Image By: Dick Daniels

Description: The breeding male Mallard has a glossy green head with a white collar. The breast is purple-tinged brown and they belly. There is a yellowish-orange bill tipped with black. Female Mallard and nonbreeding male are predominantly mottled with individual feathers varying from buff to dark brown, a coloration shared by most female dabbling ducks. Female and nonbreeding males have a dark eye-line and lighter supercilium. They have a blue speculum with white leading and trailing edges.

Range: The Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia.

Habitat: Shallow freshwater and saltwater wetlands that have aquatic vegetation.

Diet: Seeds, plant greens, roots, tubers, snails, aquatic insects, crustaceans, worms, insects.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Similar to:

  • American Black Duck – American black duck has darker plumage.
  • Female Gadwall – Female gadwall has a squarer head than a female mallard. Mallard has more pronounced eye-line.
  • Hawaiian Duck – Both male and female Hawaiian duck (koloa) resemble a female mallard, but have darker plumage.
  • Mottled Duck – Mottled duck distinguished by black mark at its gape (where bill joins face).
Mallard range
Image By: Dick Daniels
Mallard habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels
Mallard aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels

Mallard feathering
Image By: Dick Daniels

2.13. Eaton’s Pintail, Anas eatoni

Eaton's Pintail
Image By: Franek2

Description: The Eaton’s pintail has mottled brown upperarts and cinnamon buff underparts. Males and females have similar plumage,

Range: islands in southern Indian Ocean.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands but also ocean bays in winter.

Diet: Seeds, grubs, worms, crustaceans.

Conservation status: The Eaton’s pintail is vulnerable because of feral cats.

Eaton's Pintail aspects
Image By: Hanuise

2.14. Northern Pintail, Anas acuta

Northern Pintail
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The northern pintail has a blue-grey bill plus grey legs and feet. The male has a long pointed tail, especially when breeding. He has grey, brown, and black patterning on its back and sides. The head is chocolate colored head with a white stripe going from the rear of the head to the white underparts. The speculum is metallic green (which can appear black) with a rufous leading edge and white trailing edge.The female has a plain brown head. The body has mottled brown plumage. Her speculum is dark brown with a narrow white leading edge and a broader white trailing edge.

Range: North America, Europe, Asia, Africa.

Habitat: Shallow freshwater wetlands with ample vegetation. During the winter, habitat may include brackish or saline waters.

Diet: Aquatic plants, seeds, Also snails, worms, crustaceans.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Northern Pintail habitat
Image By: Imran Shah – Pakistan
Northern Pintail aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Northern Pintail feathering
Image By: Andy Li

2.15. White-Cheeked Pintail, Anas bahamensis

White-Cheeked Pintail
Image By: Dick – Washington National Zoo

Description: The white-cheeked pintail has brown upperparts. The head and nape are also brown with white cheeks and nape. The underparts are light brown with black spots. There is a bluish-grey bill with a definitive red spot.

Range: Galapagos Islands, South America; infrequently in Florida,

Habitat: Waters with some salinity, such as brackish lakes, estuaries and mangrove swamps.

Diet: Mainly aquatic plants; also aquatic insects and invertebrates.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

White-Cheeked Pintail habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
White-Cheeked Pintail aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
White-Cheeked Pintail feathering
Image By: Dick – The Galapagos Islands

2.16. Yellow-Billed Pintail, Anas georgica

Yellow-Billed Pintail
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The yellow-billed pintail has a brown head and neck plus a brownish tail. The upper wings are greyish brown and the secondaries are blackish-green. The yellow-billed pintail has a black speculum with a buff leading edge. The rest of the plumage is buffish brown with varying size black spots. Its identifying feature is the yellow bill with black tip and black stripe. The yellow-billed teal does have a similar bill, but that species has a larger spots on its breast.

Range: South America.

Habitat: Ranges from high elevation lakes and marshes to low elevation lakes and rivers open country. Also coastal.

Diet: Aquatic plants and occasionally land-based plants. Also snails, mollusks, worms, shrimp.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Yellow-Billed Pintail habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Yellow-Billed Pintail aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

2.17. Andaman Teal, Anas albogularis

Andaman Teal
Image By: Balaji Venkatesh Sivaramakrishnan

Description: The Andaman teal has mainly dark brown plumage with buffy markings. The throat and face are pale and there is a white eye-ring. Its speculum is mainly black with a broad white leading edge.

Range: Andaman Islands of India.

Habitat: Inland pools as well as mangroves and lagoons.

Diet: Aquatic insects and seeds. Forages mainly at night.

Conservation status: The Andaman teal is Vulnerable due to habitat modification, but the population seems to be increasing.

Andaman Teal aspects
Image By: John Gerrard Keulemans

2.18. Andean Teal, Anas andium

Andean Teal
Image By: Felix Uribe – Columbia

Description: The Andean teal dark brown upperparts with a grey head and neck. It has a black speculum with a red leading edge and a buff or white trailing edge. The underparts are grey with heavy dark markings on the breast. The bill is black and legs are grey.

Range: Andean highlands of Columbia, Ecuador, Venezuela.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands.

Diet: Aquatic plants and insects, crustaceans.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Andean Teal habitat
Image By: Felix Uribe – Columbia
Andean Teal aspects
Image By: Jei Pov
Andean Teal range
Image By: Gary Clark – Ecuador

2.19. Auckland (Island) Teal, Anas aucklandica

Auckland Teal
Image By: Kimberley Collins

Description: The Auckland teal has brown plumage with a hint of green on the neck. The head is green and it has a pale eye-ring. This teal is flightless.

Range: Auckland Islands (south of New Zealand).

Habitat: Shrubland, coastal waters.

Diet: Crustaceans, mollusks, algae.

Conservation status: The Auckland teal is considered Vulnerable. Because it is flightless, introduced predators can easily decimate an island’s population.

Auckland Teal aspects
Image By: Austronesian Expeditions

2.20. Bernier’s Teal, Anas bernieri

Bernier's Teal
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The Bernier’s teal, also known as the Madagascar teal, has a brown body with mottled flanks and breast. The light colored head is one identifying feature. Another is its black speculum with a broad white leading edge and a narrow white trailing edge.

Range: Madagascar.

Habitat: Shallow waters, fresh or saline, with above water plants such as reeds.

Diet: Mainly insects, both terrestrial and aquatic. Also seeds and plants.

Conservation status: The Bernier’s teal is Endangered because of deforestation and also being hunted for food.

Bernier's Teal habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Bernier's Teal aspects
Image By: Dick – Antananarivo Zoo, Madagascar
Bernier's Teal range
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

2.21. Brown Teal, Anas chlorotis

Brown Teal
Image By: Digitaltrails

Description: The Brown teal has brown plumage with mottling on the upperparts. There is a pale eye-ring. It has a green speculum with a buff leading edge and a white trailing edge. During breeding season the male has a green head and a chestnut breast.

Range: Islands off New Zealand.

Habitat: Freshwaters with some tree cover. Also sheltered coastal waters.

Diet: Insects, crustaceans, mollusks.

Conservation status: The brown teal is Near Threatened due to over hunting. Conservation efforts are having encouraging results.

Brown Teal habitat
Image By: Bernard Spragg
Brown Teal aspects
Image By: Sabine’s Sunbird
Brown Teal feathering
Image By: Diego Tirira

2.22. Campbell Island Teal, Anas nesiotis

Campbell Island Teal
Image By: Jake Osborne – Codfish Island, New Zealand

Description: The Campell Island teal is mainly brown. The head and back are dark and tinged with iridescent green. The male has a chestnut breast. It has short wings and is flightless. It is sometimes consider conspecific with the brown teal.

Range: The Campbell Islands of New Zealand.

Habitat: Throughout most of the island and also on beaches.

Diet: Invertebrates, seaweed.

Conservation status: The Campbell Islands teal is considered vulnerable. Because it is flightless, introduced predators can easily decimate an island’s population.

Campbell Island Teal habitat
Image By: Stomac
Campbell Island Teal aspects
Image By: Jake Osborne – Codfish Island, New Zealand
Campbell Island Teal feathering
Image By: Dick Daniels – Kiwi Birdlife Park, New Zealand

2.23. Cape Teal, Anas capensis

Cape Teal
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The Cape teal is mainly grey with a browner back and pink bill. It has a green speculum bordered by white. The underparts have dark spots, especially on the flanks.

Range: Sub-Saharan Africa.

Habitat: Open wetlands.

Diet: Aquatic plants, invertebrates, crustaceans, amphibians.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Cape Teal habitat
Image By: BS Thurner Hof
Cape Teal aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

2.24. Chestnut Teal, Anas castanea

Chestnut Teal
Image By: Wayne Butterworth

Description: The breeding male chestnut teal has a green head, dark brown upperparts, and mottled rufous underparts. The female has a brown head and mottled brown body. Both sexes have red eyes and a blue-grey bill. Their speculum is black with a wide white leading edge. The female chestnut teal is similar to the female grey teal. The grey teal has a lighter neck and face than the Chestnut teal.

Range: Australia.

Habitat: Prefers coastal estuaries and wetlands.

Diet: It is an omnivore, liking both invertebrates and aquatic plants.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Chestnut Teal range
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Chestnut Teal habitat
Image By: Wayne Butterworth
Chestnut Teal feathering
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Chestnut Teal aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

2.25. Eurasian Teal, Anas crecca

Eurasian Teal
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The Eurasian teal, also known as the common teal or the green-winged teal, gives its name to the blue-green color teal. It is a small dabbling duck with a dark green speculum which has a buff leading edge and white trailing edge. The breeding male has a chestnut head, green eye-patch, grey back and flanks. The female is mottled brown and has a dark eye-line. Some consider the green-winged teal of North America to be a subspecies.

Range: Europe, Asia.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands with abundant vegetation. During winters it becomes more coastal.

Diet: Aquatic vegetation, seeds, aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Similar to:

  • Green-winged teal – Green-winged teal. The breeding male green-winged teal has a vertical white stripe on side of breast, the breeding Eurasian teal doesn’t. The species are difficult to differentiate for nonbreeding males and also females.
  • Mallard (female) – Plumage of female green-winged teal and female mallard is similar. Size is the best differentiator, with the mallard being larger.
Eurasian Teal habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Eurasian Teal aspects
Image By: Imran Shah
Eurasian Teal feathering
Image By: Hobbyfotowiki

2.26. Green-Winged Teal, Anas carolinensis

Green-Winged Teal
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights

Description: The green-winged teal is the smallest North American dabbling duck. It has a dark green speculum which has a buff leading edge and white trailing edge. The breeding male green-winged teal has a chestnut head, green eye patch, grey back and flanks. The female is mottled brown and has a dark eye-line.

Range: North America.

Habitat: Sheltered wetlands such as bogs.

Diet: Aquatic vegetaton, seeds, aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Similar to:

  • Blue-winged teal, Cinnamon teal – The female green-winged teal can be differentiated from these other teals by its dark eye-line.
  • Eurasian teal – Some consider these the same species. The breeding male green-winged teal has a vertical white stripe on side of breast, the breeding Eurasian teal doesn’t. The species are difficult to differentiate for nonbreeding males and also females.
  • Mallard (female) – Plumage of female green-winged teal and female mallard is similar. Size is the best differentiator.
Green-Winged Teal habitat
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights
Green-Winged Teal aspects
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights
Green-Winged Teal feathering
Image By: Kati Flemin – Texas
Green-Winged Teal closeup
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights

2.27. Grey Teal, Anas gracilis

Grey Teal
Image By: JJ Harrison – Tasmania, Australia

Description: The grey teal is mostly grey-brown. It has a pale chin and throat, red eye, and blue-grey bill.
The Sunda teal (Anas gibberifrons) was previously considered a subspecies. They both have a black speculum with a broad white leading edge. However, the grey teal has a lighter neck and face than the similar female chestnut teal.

Range: Australia, New Zealand, and other Pacific Islands.

Habitat: Open wetlands.

Diet: Aquatic and shoreline vegetation, aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Grey Teal feathering
Image By: Auckland War Memorial Museum – Speculum
Grey Teal habitat
Image By: Oystercatcher

2.28. Red-Billed Teal, Anas erythrorhyncha

Red-Billed Teal
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The Red-billed teal, also known as the red-billed duck or red-billed pintail, has a red bill. It has brown upperparts, a dark head, and a brown mottled breast. It has a pale speculum with a white and black leading edge. It is similar to the Hottentot teal which has a blue bill.

Range: Africa including Madagascar.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands in fairly open country.

Diet: Acquatic plants, grain, mollusks, aquatic insects, crustaceans.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Red-Billed Teal habitat
Image By: Charlie Westerinen – Hwange, Zimbabwe
Red-Billed Teal aspects
Image By: Clint Ralph
Red-Billed Teal closeup
Image By: Dick Daniels – Birds Of Eden, South Africa

2.29. Sunda Teal, Anas gibberifrons

Sunda Teal
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The Sunda teal, also known as the Indonesian teal, has mottled brown plumage. The chin and fore-neck are pale and there ia a bulging forehead. As does the Bernier’s teal of Madagascar teal and the chestnut teal of Australia, the Sunda teal has a black speculum with a broad white leading edge. The female Chestnut teal is similar, but the female Sunda teal has a lighter chin and foreneck; plus their ranges do not overlap.

Range: Indonesia.

Habitat: Freshwater, saline, and brackish wetlands.

Diet: Aquatic and shoreline vegetation, aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks.

Conservation status: The Sunda teal is Near Threatened as it is widely hunted plus there is deforestation of its habitat.

Sunda Teal habitat
Image By: Gilfedder – Bali, Indonesia
Sunda Teal aspects
Image By: Curatrok77

2.30. Yellow-Billed Teal, Anas flavirostris

Yellow-Billed Teal
Image By: Cláudio Timm – Rio Grande Do Sul, Brazil

Description: The Yellow-billed teal has a yellow bill with black center ridge and black tip. It has black and brown upperparts, The grey flanks are unspeckled and it has a grey belly. The grey breast is heavily spotted. It has a black speculum with a rufous leading edge and a white trailing edge. The similar Yellow-billed Pintail has spotted flanks.

Range: South America.

Habitat: Freshwater wetland during breeding season; brackish or saline coastal waters in winter.

Diet: Aquatic plants, insects, crustaceans, mollusks.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Yellow-Billed Teal feathering
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Yellow-Billed Teal aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Yellow-Billed Teal habitat
Image By: Cláudio Timm – Rio Grande Do Sul, Brazil
Yellow-Billed Teal description
Image By: Cláudio Timm – Rio Grande Do Sul, Brazil

3. Genus Callonetta

3.1. Ringed Teal, Callonetta leucophrys

Ringed Teal
Image By: Dick – Washington National Zoo

Description: The ringed teal has a green or turquoise speculum with a large white patch in front of it. The male has chestnut upperparts and a black stipe from the top of its head to the nape. Its pink breast is speckled with black and the belly is pale grey. The black under-tail has a white patch. The female has a brown back and face with a white supercilium.

Range: South America.

Habitat: Secluded freshwater wetlands.

Diet: Acquatic plants and aquatic invertebrates; also seeds.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Ringed Teal closeup
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Ringed Teal aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Ringed Teal habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Ringed Teal feathering
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

4. Genus Chenonetta

4.1. Australian Wood Duck, Chenonetta jubata

Australian Wood Duck
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park

Description: The Australian wood duck, also khown as the maned duck, is grey with a dark brown head and mottled breast. The male has a black mane-like crest. The female has white stripes above and below the eye and also mottled flanks. Traditionally placed in the subfamily Anatinae (dabbling ducks), it might belong to the subfamily Tadorninae (shelducks). It is similar to the Spotted Whistling-Duck, but their heads are very different.

Range: Australia.

Habitat: Grasslands, wetland, and the sea coast. It prefers to forage on land.

Diet: Mainly grasses, grains, clover and other herbs; also insects.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Australian Wood Duck feathering
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park
Australian Wood Duck aspects
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park
Australian Wood Duck habitat
Image By: Dick Damiels – Birds Of Eden, South Africa
Australian Wood Duck closeup
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park

5. Genus Hymenolaimus

Nearest relatives of the blue duck are thought to be some South American dabbling ducks. It was previously thought to a member of the shelduck family.

5.1. Blue Duck, Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos

Blue Duck
Image By: Karora

Description: The blue duck has bluish-grey upperparts and belly. There are chestnut spots on its breast. It has a pinkish-white bill with a black tip. The sexes have similar appearance; the male is larger.

Range: New Zealand.

Habitat: Mountain streams and fast moving rivers.

Diet: Mainly aquatic insect larvae. Also berries, algae. Feeds by diving and dabbling.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Blue Duck closeup
Image By: Bernard Spragg
Blue Duck appearance
Image By: Martin

6. Genus Lophonetta

6.1. Crested Duck, Lophonetta specularioides

Crested Duck
Image By: Claudio Timm – Argentine Lake, Argentina

Description: The crested duck, also known as the South American crested duck, has dark brown upperparts with some light mottling and a dark greyish-brown crown that ends in a shaggy crest. It has a dark mask and a white speculum with a black leading edge. The underparts are mottled light brown. It is similar to the marbled duck, but their ranges don’t overlap.

Range: South America.

Habitat: Lakes, marshes, and grassy areas from shallow coastal bays to high elevation lakes.

Diet: They can be mainly carnivorous or herbivorous depending on the environment. Eats grass, kelp, seeds, snails, clams, crustaceans.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Crested Duck habitat
Image By: Claudio Timm – Argentine Lake, Argentina
Crested Duck aspects
Image By: Charlie Westerinen – Ushuaia Argentina
Crested Duck feathering
Image By: Tony Castro – Peru

7. Genus Mareca

7.1. Falcated Duck, Mareca falcata

Falcated Duck
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The term “falcated” refers to the long sickle-shaped feathers on the lower back of the falcated duck, which is also known as the falcated teal.The breeding male falcated duck has a grey body, dark green head, bronze crown, and white throat. It has a white spot at the base of its bill. The female has a mottled brown body and long grey bill. The nonbreeding male is similar to the female but darker on the back and head.

Range: Europe, Asia.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands; also coasts in the winter.

Diet: Primarily herbivorous: leaves, seeds, grains, nuts. Also insect larvae, crustaceans, mollusks.

Conservation status: The falcated duck is near Threatened because of hunting in China.

Falcated Duck habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Falcated Duck aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Falcated Duck feathering
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

7.2. Gadwall, Mareca strepera

Gadwall
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The breeding male gadwall has grey upperparts and underparts, light chestnut wings, and a white speculum. The female has a mottled brown body, dark orange-edged bill, white speculum, light belly. The nonbreeding male resembles the female but is greyer above and has less orange on the bill. The female gadwall is similar to the female mallard. Only the female mallard has a white or pale supercilium. Also, the mallard has a blue speculum while it is white for the gadwall.

Range: North America, Europe, Asia, Africa.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands with aquatic vegetation.

Diet: Mainly aquatic vegetation. Also algae, invertebrates.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Gadwall closeup
Image By: Jeff Whitlock – Texas
Gadwall aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Gadwall habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Gadwall feathering
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

7.3. American Wigeon, Mareca americana

American Wigeon
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The American wigeon has a white belly and grey legs. The breeding male has a green crescent from its eyes to nape. The striking off-white crown, which extends to its bill, leads to its alternate name “baldpate”. The back and breast are pinkish brown. The pale silvery bill has a black tip. The nonbreeding male has vestigial green and white on its head. The female has a greyish-brown back, grey head, chestnut breast, white belly, and a black tipped grey bill. The American wigeon has a dark green speculum with a black leading edge. There is a large white patch above the speculum. The female American wigeon is similar to the Eurasian wigeon which has more uniform head color.

Range: North America, northwest South America.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands, grasslands, agricultural fields.

Diet: Mainly vegetarian. Eats aquatic vegetation and also pasture grasses, winter wheat, clover.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

American Wigeon aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
American Wigeon feathering
Image By: Alan D Wilson – Near San Diego, California
American Wigeon habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
American Wigeon closeup
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

7.4. Chiloe Wigeon, Mareca sibilatrix

Chiloe Wigeon
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The Chiloe wigeon has a black back with white patterns, dark green head, white cheeks and forehead. The breast is black and white barred, and the sides are orange-brown sides. The pale grey bill has a white tip. The male and female are very similar – the male is larger and has whiter forehead.

Range: South America (southern part)

Habitat: Freshwater lakes, marshes, shallow lagoons and slow flowing rivers. Also coastal shorelines.

Diet: Mainly vegetarian: aquatic greens, seeds, grasses. Also worms, larvae.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Chiloe Wigeon habitat
Image By: Mehmet Karatay
Chiloe Wigeon aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

7.5. Eurasian Wigeon, Mareca penelope

Eurasian Wigeon
Image By: Kuribo – Japan

Description: The Eurasian wigeon has a white belly, grey legs and a small black tipped light bill. The breeding male has a grey back and flanks, chestnut head and neck, off-white crown that extends to its bill, and a pinkish-grey breast. The female has mainly brown upperparts with a uniform brown head. The underparts are white with pink-buff flanks. The nonbreeding male resembles the female. The female can be a rufous morph with a redder head, and a grey morph with a more grey head. The female American wigeon is similar to the Eurasian wigeon which has more uniform head color.

Range: Europe, Asia, Africa. Rare in North America.

Habitat: Open wetlands, such as wet grassland or marshes.

Diet: Mainly vegetarian: aquatic plants, grasses; also some insects and invertebrates.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Eurasian Wigeon feathering
Image By: Imran Shah – Pakistan
Eurasian Wigeon aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Eurasian Wigeon habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Eurasian Wigeon closeup
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

8. Genus Pteronetta

8.1. Hartlaub’s Duck, Pteronetta hartlaubii

Hartlaub's Duck
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The Hartlaub’s Duck has chestnut plumage with a black head and upper neck. It has white above the base of the bill. There is a blue wing patch. The male has more white on the head than the female.

Range: Africa.

Habitat: Marshes, streams, pools; all located in forests.

Diet: Insects, spiders, crustaceans, mollusks. Also some vegetation.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Hartlaub's Duck habitat
Image By: Nik Borrow – Cameroon
Hartlaub's Duck aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

9. Genus Sarkidiornis

The two species of this genus do not have any close relatives (except each other).

9.1. Comb Duck, Sarkidiornis sylvicola

Comb Duck
Image By: BS Thurner Hof 

Description: The comb duck has a white head speckled with dark spots, white underparts, and glossy blue-black upperparts. The male has a black knob on the bill. The male has dark flanks; the female has medium colored flanks.

Range: South America.

Habitat: Tropical wetlands.

Diet: Prefers seeds and grains. Also aquatic plants, invertebrates.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Comb Duck habitat
Image By: Sandy Cole

9.2. Knob-Billed Duck, Sarkidiornis melanotos

Knob-Billed Duck
Image By: JM Garg – India

Description: The Knob-billed duck has a white head speckled with dark spots, white underparts, and glossy blue-black upperparts. The male has a black knob on the bill. The flanks are light colored.

Range: Asia (Indian Subcontinent to Laos and extreme southern China), Africa

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands, usually with some trees around.

Diet: Prefers seeds and grains. Also aquatic plants, invertebrates.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Knob-Billed Duck habitat
Image By: Bernard Dupont – South Africa
Knob-Billed Duck aspects
Image By: Charles J Sharp – India, Ethiopia
Knob-Billed Duck feathering
Image By: Charles J Sharp – India, Ethiopia

10. Genus Sibirionetta

The Baikal was formerly placed in genus Anas.

10.1. Baikal Teal, Sibirionetta formosa

Baikal Teal
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The male Baikal teal has dark brown crown with a white supercilium passing above the eye and ending at the nape. The yellow face has a striking black swirl and there is also yellow on the front of neck. The breast is light brown with dark spots. The brown back has long scapulars and the sides are grey. It has a dark green speculum with red leading edge and white trailing edge. The female Baikal teal has a white spot at the base of its bill and the faint hint of a white supercilium. It has a brown back with short scapulars.

Range: Asia.

Habitat: Nests in freshwater wetlands with trees close by, also in Arctic tundra. Nonbreeding it may also be found in brackish water.

Diet: Aquatic plants and invertebrates. Also rice.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Baikal Teal feathering
Image By: Tokumi
Baikal Teal aspects
Image By: Sarefo
Baikal Teal habitat
Image By: Ken

11. Genus Spatula

The shovelers have very long bills. Their wide-flat bill is equipped with small, comb-like structures on the edge of the bill that act like sieves, allowing the birds to skim crustaceans and plankton from the water’s surface. In addition to shovelers, some teals have also been moved from Anas to Spatula.

11.1. Garganey, Spatula querquedula

Garganey
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The male garganey has a brown head and breast, a reddish-brown face, and a broad white crescent over the eye. The rest of the plumage is grey as well as the bill and legs. The brown female garganey has a dark eye-line with a pale supercilium above. There is a white loral spot. The speculum is green (male) or greenish-brown (female). The female can be told from the female blue-winged by that specie’s white eye-ring. Its white loral spot helps to differentiate the female garganey from the female green-winged teal.

Range: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia.

Habitat: Wetlands with vegetation showing above the surface.

Diet: Aquatic plants, seeds, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, This species feeds mainly by skimming rather than upending.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Garganey closeup
Image By: Sandy Cole – Sylvan Heights
Garganey aspects
Image By: Sergey Pisarevskiy – Siberia, Russia
Garganey feathering
Image By: Frankie Chu

11.2. Australasian Shoveler, Spatula rhynchotis

Australasian Shoveler
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The breeding male Australasian shoveler has a blue grey head, vertical white stripe near base of bill, chestnut underparts, and yellow eyes. Nonbreeding males are duller. The female has mottled brown upperparts and underparts. She has dark brown eyes.

Range: Australia, New Zealand.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands during breeding seasons. Other times habitat expanded to incude brackish and saline waters.

Diet: Seeds, aquatic plants, crustaceans, mollusks.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Australasian Shoveler feathering
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Australasian Shoveler aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Australasian Shoveler habitat
Image By: Laurie Boyle
Australasian Shoveler closeup
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

11.3. Cape Shoveler, Spatula smithii

Cape Shoveler
Image By: Derek Keats

Description: The cape shoveler has mottled grey brown plumage. It has a dark bill and orange legs. The male has yellow eyes, the female brown.

Range: Africa, mainly in South Africa.

Habitat: Open wetlands, such as wet grassland or marshes with some emergent vegetation (plants that extend above the water surface). Mud-bottomed marshes are preferred if rich in invertebrate life.

Diet: Mainly plants, also mollusks and aquatic insects during breeding season.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Cape Shoveler habitat
Image By: Derek Keats

Cape Shoveler aspects
Image By: Derek Keats
Cape Shoveler feathering
Image By: Derek Keats

11.4. Northern Shoveler, Spatula clypeata

Northern Shoveler
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park

Description: The breeding male northern shoveler has a greenish black head, white breast, and a chestnut belly and flanks. The bill is black, the eyes are yellow. The female has mottled brown plumage, an orange bill tinged with grey, and brown eyes. Nonbreeding males are duller than breeding males

Range: North America, Europe, Asia, Australia (rare).

Habitat: Open wetlands, such as wet grassland or marshes with some emergent vegetation (plants that extend above the water surface). Mud-bottomed marshes are preferred if rich in invertebrate life.

Diet: Seeds, plants, plankton, invertebrates, and aquatic insects.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Northern Shoveler feathering
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park
Northern Shoveler aspects
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park
Northern Shoveler habitat
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park
Northern Shoveler closeup
Image By: Nosferattus – Florida

11.5. Red Shoveler, Spatula platalea

Red Shoveler
Image By: Nick Athanas – Argentina

Description: The red shoveler has mainly cinnamon colored plumage with dark spots. It has a light grey head and a huge black bill. The female has brown eyes and the male has pale yellow eyes.

Range: South America.

Habitat: Shallow lakes, marshes, brackish coastal estuaries.

Diet: Aquatic plants, plankton, invertebrates, and aquatic insects.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Red Shoveler habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Red Shoveler aspects
Image By: Nick Athanas – Argentina

11.6. Blue-Winged Teal, Spatula discors

Blue-Winged Teal
Image By: Dan Pancamo – Texas

Description: Breeding blue-winged teal male has a greyish blue head with a white facial crescent, a light brown body with a white patch near the rear and a black tail. The adult female and nonbreeding male are mottled brown. They have a black eye-line that bisects a white eye-ring, and have a whitish area at the base of the bill. This whitish plumage on the female continues to the neck. Both sexes have vivid blue wing coverts and a green speculum. They have yellowish legs.

Range: The Americas.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands with protruding vegetation. Also salt-marsh meadows with adjoining ponds or creeks.

Diet: Mainly aquatic vegetation. Also insect, mollusks, crustaceans.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Similar to:

  • Cinnamon teal – Female blue-winged teals and nonbreeding male blue-winged teals have black eye-lines. Female cinnamon teals and nonbreeding male cinnamon teals have negligible black eye-lines.
  • Garganey – Female blue-winged teal has white eye-ring; female garganey does not. Blue-winged teal has yellow legs; garganey doesn’t.
Blue-Winged Teal habitat
Image By: Dick – Sanibel Island, Florida
Blue-Winged Teal aspects
Image By: Felix_Uribe
Blue-Winged Teal feathering
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights

11.7. Cinnamon Teal, Spatula cyanoptera

Cinnamon Teal
Image By: Dick Daniels – San Diego Zoo

Description: The adult male has a dark cinnamon-red head and body with a brown back, red eyes and a dark bill. The adult female has a mottled brown body, a pale brown head, brown eyes, diffuse white eye-arcs, and a long grey bill. The nonbreeding male resembles the female, but with a reddish mottled body and red eyes. Both sexes have yellowish legs.

Range: The Americas.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands, but not moving water.

Diet: Mainly aquatic vegetation; also insects, mollusks.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Similar to:

  • Blue-winged teal – Female blue-winged teals and nonbreeding male blue-winged teals have black eye-lines. Female cinnamon teals and nonbreeding male Cinnamon teals have negligible black eye-lines.
  • Red Shoveler – Red Shoveler. Male cinnamon teal has a darker head than the male red shoveler.
Cinnamon Teal feathering
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights
Cinnamon Teal aspects
Image By: Dick – Sylvan Heights
Cinnamon Teal habitat
Image By: Linda Tanner
Cinnamon Teal closeup
Image By: Maggie Smith

11.8. Hottentot Teal, Spatula hottentota

Hottentot Teal
Image By: Derek Keats – South Africa

Description: The small Hottentot teal, also know as the blue-billed teal, has brown upperparts and a dark head with a pale face. The breast has dark brown spots which become fewer on the belly. It has a blue bill with dark median line. There is an iridescent green speculum. The similar red-billed teal has a red bill versus a blue bill for the Hottentot teal.

Range: Africa.

Habitat: A wide variety of freshwater wetlands.

Diet: Aquatic vegetations, seeds, insects, mollusks, crustaceans.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Hottentot Teal habitat
Image By: Sandy Cole – Sylvan Heights

11.9. Puna Teal, Spatula puna

Puna Teal
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The Puna teal has a black cap that extends below the eyes and down the nape. The lower part of head is creamy as is the throat and upper neck. The lower neck is buff as is the breast which has dark brown spots. The bill is bluish with a black median stripe. It has a green speculum bordered with white. The Puna teal once was considered a subspecies of the silver teal. The can be differentiated by the yellow base of the silver teal’s bill.

Range: South America (Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina).

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands with floating vegetation.

Diet: Aquatic vegetation, insects, mollusks, crustaceans.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Puna Teal habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Puna Teal aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

11.10. Silver Teal, Spatula versicolor

Silver Teal
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights 

Description: The silver teal has a silver rump. It has a black cap that extends below the eyes and down the nape. The lower part of head is creamy as is the throat and upper neck. The lower neck is buff as is the breast which also has dark brown spots. The bill is bluish with a black median stripe and yellow near the base. It has a green speculum bordered with white. The Puna teal once was considered a subspecies of the silver teal. The can be differentiated by the yellow base of the silver teal’s bill.

Range: South America.

Habitat: Freshwater wetlands with shoreline vegetation.

Diet: Aquatic vegetation, insects, mollusks, crustaceans.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

Silver Teal habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Height
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Height

12. Genus Speculanas

12.1. Bronze-Winged Duck, Speculanas specularis

Bronze-Winged Duck
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights

Description: The bronze-winged duck, also known as the spectacled duck, has a bronze speculum. The head is dark brown with white spectacle, and a white partial collar. It has mainly blackish-brown upperparts, and mottled tan / dark brown underparts. The male has a darker head than the female.

Range: South America.

Habitat: Forested rivers and fast-flowing streams; also pools and ponds near forests

Diet: Acquatic vegetation, snails, invertebrates.

Conservation status: The bronze-winged duck is Near Threatened because although widespread, there may be less than 10,000 of this species.

Bronze-Winged Duck habitat
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights
Bronze-Winged Duck aspects
Image By: Dick Daniels – Sylvan Heights