GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Anas carolinensis) Visitor
DESCRIPTION: The Green-winged Teal is the smallest dabbling duck in North America. As the name implies, the green-winged teal drake has a green speculum whereas the female is similar to a female mallard, without the green speculum. The head is medium brown in the male with a green vertical band starting around the eye and extending down to the neck. The upper part is grey and there is a white vertical band above the wing. The bill is black in the male and lighter in the female. Those ducks have a specialized bill with lamellae inside allowing them to filter out their prey. The legs and feet are grey. Green-winged teals are around 14 inches (38 cm) long.
NAME: The name ‘teal’ refers to a blue-green color, and this color itself is named after the Common teal. The Latin genus name ‘Anas’ means ‘duck’, and ‘carolinensis’ refers to the Carolinas, where the first individuals were identified.
HABITAT: The green-winged teal habitat is watery areas inland such as marshes and ponds, with dense vegetation such as tall grasses and cattails, where they nest and can hide. They can also be found on flooded plains.
DIET: Small insects and crustaceans, also vegetation in the mud.
NESTING: A well-hidden shallow depression on the ground not far from water. Built by the female from plant materials and its own feathers. An average of eight creamy eggs are laid. The female alone cares for chicks.
DISTRIBUTION: This duck’s breeding territory is most of Canada, Alaska and the northern USA. Its wintering range is mainly in the southern USA and Mexico. Some individuals will spend the winter on Pacific islands such as Hawaii.
CONSERVATION: This duck is the most hunted after the mallard, yet their numbers have actually increased, thanks to conservative hunting practices (wetlands restoration). The fact that this bird nests in remote areas of Canada and in Alaska also helps.
NOTES: Green-winged teals are powerful fliers, taking off directly from the water.
Although considered a dabbler, this duck will occasionally dive to avoid a predator.
Some individuals can be observed at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on Oahu.
The migratory flocks of this species can number in the tens of thousands.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Eurasian Teal: The green-winged teal is still sometimes described as a subspecies of the Eurasian Teal (compare photos of both below).
http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/greenteal.htm (New Hampshire PBS)
This green-winged teal below kept moving right and left while foraging :
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