Blue-winged Teals are
ducks, usually avoiding cold weather more than many other North American ducks. Large
numbers may fly non-stop over open ocean to wintering grounds in South America.
The photo to the right depicts both a female (back) and male (foreground).
Habitat: Shallow freshwater ponds and marshes, flooded
Diet: Mostly plant material, including
aquatic plants, seeds, and waste grain. Also eats crustaceans and insects.
Behavior: Forages in very shallow water, swimming
with head submerged or picking items off the surface of the water.
They are often found in small flocks along the water's edge.
Nesting: Late April through July. The nest of a
Blue-winged Teal is a depression on the ground, lined with grasses and weeds,
with a final layer of feathers and down. The female usually lays 8 to 13
eggs, and the female alone incubates them. The young leave the nest soon
after hatching and find their own food, but the female will tend to them for
about 3 weeks. The young fledge after about 6 weeks.
Song: Quack from females, louder chyerk from male.
Migration: Winters along southern U.S. coasts and down through Mexico, Central America,
and South America.
Similar Species: Male rather distinctive with face
markings, female similar to many duck species, especially to the Cinnamon
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Blue-winged Teal"
Photo Information: March 31st, 2012 -- Minnehaha County
near Sioux Falls -- Terry L. Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Blue-winged Teal photos.