Green-winged Teal - Anas crecca
The adult male green-winged teal has a cinnamon colored head with a green patch around and behind his eyes that is bordered underneath with a fine white line. His upper body is gray and his chest is a creamy-white speckled with brown. He has a white stripe down his side between his chest and his wings. The female green-winged teal has a light brown head and neck and a whitish throat. Her upperside is a dark brown and her underside is white. Both the male and the female have black bills and black legs and feet. The green-winged teal gets its name from the green patch on its wings. The female's patch is a little brighter than the male's patch.
The green-winged teal breeds from northern Alaska, Manitoba, and Quebec south to California, Colorado, Nebraska, and New York. It winters in the southern states and along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
The green-winged teal eats the seeds of pondweeds, bulrushes, sedges, grasses, grains, and berries. It pokes its head down in the water to sift food from the mud, and it pulls grasses and weeds up from the water's edge. It often travels a good distance from water to find food. Young teals also eat insects.
The nest is lined with grasses, leaves, weeds, and down. The female often covers the eggs with down to keep them warm when she leaves the nest. Only the female incubates the eggs. The chicks hatch in about 21-23 days. The male leaves the female soon after incubation. The female leads the chicks down to the water when they are a day old. The chicks fledge when they are about a month old. Females are very aggressive in defending their chicks. Female green-winged teals often work together to protect broods from predators like skunks and crows.
The green-winged teal is an early migrant. They migrate in large flocks and often fly low over water, wheeling and turning together. Males migrate first. Green-winged teals migrate both during the day and at night.
Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Stuart Fisher