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Cinnamon Teal

Spatula cyanoptera

Length: 15 - 17 inches Wingspan: 24 - 30 inches Seasonality: Migrant/Summer
ID Keys: Rich cinnamon body and head on male unmistakable.  Fairly long blackish spatulate bill.

Cinnamon Teal - Spatula cyanopteraThe Cinnamon Teal is an easily recognized dabbling duck of the western United States, with the male having rich cinnamon hues on it's body and head.  They are closely related to the Blue-winged Teal, and will sometimes hybridize with them.  They have more spatulate bills than their close cousins, however, although not as extreme as the Northern Shoveler's bill. In South Dakota they are quite uncommon, with sightings more common as you move westward in the state.


Prefers shallow marshes and ponds in open country during breeding season.  Can be found in nearly any shallow-water aquatic habitat during migration and in winter, including salt-water habitats.


Primarily feeds on the seeds of sedges, grasses, smartweeds, and aquatic plants.  Will also feed on other plant material, insects, small crustaceans, and small mollusks.


A dabbling duck, feeding by partially submerging its head and straining food items from the water.  They will also sometimes feed on land adjacent to water.


April through June. The nest of a Cinnamon Teal is placed underneath cover of dead bulrushes or other wetland vegetation, usually relatively close to water. The female selects the nesting location and builds the nest, which consists of bulrush/cattails as well as other vegetation, lined with down from her own breast.  She lays 7 to 13 eggs, and she alone incubates them. The young hatch after about 23 days, leaving the nest soon after.


Weak whistling by the male, a typical quack from the female. 

 1Click here to hear the quacking of a female Cinnamon Teal


Summers throughout the western United States.  Winters along the California coast, locally in the extreme Southwest, Mexico, and Central America. Cinnamon Teals are unique among North American Waterfowl, as separate breeding populations also exist in South America.

Interactive eBird Map:

Click for access to an interactive eBird map of Cinnamon Teal sightings

Similar Species:

Male Cinnamon teals are distinctive, but females are similar to several other female duck species.

Conservation Status:

Has undoubtedly declined from historic numbers due to loss of wetland habitat.  Based on data from the Breeding Bird Survey and other North American data, populations have also undergone some declines in recent decades. However, they are still found over a broad geographic area and are relatively common in parts of that range. The IUCN considers the Cinnamon Teal to be a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information:

1) WhatBird - Cinnamon Teal

2) BirdWeb - Cinnamon Teal

3) Audubon Guide - Cinnamon Teal

Photo Information:

June 19th, 2008 - Klamath Wildlife Refuge, California - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos:

Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Cinnamon Teal photos.

Audio File Credits:

1Bernabe Lopez-Lanus. Recorded in Argentina. Original recording and information from xeno-canto.


Click on the range map for a higher-resolution view
Cinnamon Teal - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Rare spring migrant and summer resident, most common in the western part of the state.

Additional Cinnamon Teal Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
Cinnamon Teal 1 - Anas cyanopteraCinnamon Teal 2 - Anas cyanopteraCinnamon Teal 3 - Anas cyanopteraCinnamon Teal 4 - Anas cyanopteraCinnamon Teal 5 - Anas cyanopteraCinnamon Teal 6 - Anas cyanoptera