8 Interesting Facts about the Green-Winged Teal

This has got to be one of my favorite birds to photograph in flight. Talk about a challenge!!! They are small, silent and fast. They seem to come out of nowhere and just when you have them in your viewfinder, they dart left or right, up or down. When you get a good shot of a Green-winged Teal in flight, you know that you’ve worked for it.

I wanted to learn more about my little chestnut colored nemesis. Here is some of the information that I have gathered.

  • Green-winged Teal are the smallest North American dabbling duck.
  • Green-winged Teal are a noisy species. The male has a clear whistle, whereas the female has a feeble “quack”.
  • Green-winged Teal, more than any other species of duck, prefer to seek food on mud flats. Where mud flats are lacking, they prefer shallow marshes or temporarily flooded agricultural lands. They usually eat vegetative matter consisting of seeds, stems, and leaves of aquatic and emergent vegetation.

Green-Winged Teals In Flight

Green-Winged Teals In Flight

  • Green-winged Teal are among the earliest spring migrants. They arrive on nesting areas almost as soon as the snow melts.
  • Green-winged Teal nest in depressions on dry ground located at the base of shrubs, under a log, or in dense grass. The nests are usually 2 to 300 feet from water. Green-winged teal avoid treeless or brushless habitats. 

    Male Green-Winged Teal

    Male Green-Winged Teal

  • Green-winged Teal become sexually mature their first winter. The female will lay 5 to 16 eggs. The incubation period for the eggs is 21 to 23 days.
  • Young Green-winged Teal have the fastest growth rate of all ducks.
  • In northern areas of the United States, Green-winged Teal migrating to wintering grounds appear in early September through mid-December. They begin migrating into most central regions during September and often remain through December.

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