Return to Main Page   Dakota Birder Blog    

Blue-winged Teal

Anas discors

Length: 15 inches Wingspan: 27 inches Seasonality: Summer

ID Keys MALES:  White crescent on face, white patch on flank, blue wing patch seen in flight

ID Keys FEMALES: Dark eye-line, white eye arcs, white at bill base and throat, large size pattern on body

Blue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teals are generally warm-season 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 ditches. 

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.

Interactive eBird Map: Click to access an interactive eBird map of Blue-winged Teal sightings

South Dakota "Hotspot": When you're out birding, look around. Is there water? Then you're likely in a Blue-winged Teal hotspot! They can be found in pretty much any location where shallow water is found, including the shallow margins of large lakes, wetlands and marshes, flooded fields, and wet ditches.

Similar Species: Male rather distinctive with face markings, female similar to many duck species, especially to the Cinnamon Teal.

Conservation Status: Common and widespread, with no noticeable declines in populations.  The IUCN lists the Blue-winged Teal as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Blue-winged Teal

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Blue-winged Teal"

3) WhatBird - 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.

 

Click on the range map for a higher-resolution view
Blue-winged teal - Range map
South Dakota Status: Common migrant and summer resident statewide.  Rare in winter.

Additional Blue-winged Teal Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
 Blue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teal - Anas discorsBlue-winged Teal - Anas discors