Photo: Glenn Bartley/Vireo

Cinnamon Teal

Anas cyanoptera

While many of our marsh ducks are found from coast to coast, the Cinnamon Teal is strictly western. Unique among our northern dabbling ducks, this teal also has nesting populations in South America. A close relative of Blue-winged Teal (and sometimes hybridizing with it), the Cinnamon Teal has a slightly larger bill, better developed for straining food items out of the water. In some ways this species seems intermediate between Blue-winged Teal and Northern Shoveler.
Conservation status Common and widespread.
Family Ducks and Geese
Habitat Marshes, fresh ponds. Favors fresh or alkaline shallow lakes, extensive marshes. Generally not in coastal salt marshes. In migration, may pause on any kind of small pond or reservoir. South American races may use wider variety of habitats.
While many of our marsh ducks are found from coast to coast, the Cinnamon Teal is strictly western. Unique among our northern dabbling ducks, this teal also has nesting populations in South America. A close relative of Blue-winged Teal (and sometimes hybridizing with it), the Cinnamon Teal has a slightly larger bill, better developed for straining food items out of the water. In some ways this species seems intermediate between Blue-winged Teal and Northern Shoveler.
Photo Gallery
  • adult male
  • adult male and female
  • adult male and female
  • adult male
  • juvenile
  • adult males and female
Feeding Behavior

Usually forages in shallow water, swimming forward with head partly submerged, straining food from water. One feeding bird may follow another, taking advantage of food stirred up by paddling actions of first bird. Occasionally feeds on land near water.


Eggs

9-12, sometimes 4-16. Whitish to very pale buff. Incubation is by female only, 21-25 days. Young: female leads young to water after they hatch. Young find their own food; capable of flight 7 weeks after hatching. If danger threatens young, adult female may put on broken-wing act as a distraction display. Unlike most duck species, male may not abandon mate until near the time the eggs hatch, and sometimes is seen accompanying female and young brood.


Young

female leads young to water after they hatch. Young find their own food; capable of flight 7 weeks after hatching. If danger threatens young, adult female may put on broken-wing act as a distraction display. Unlike most duck species, male may not abandon mate until near the time the eggs hatch, and sometimes is seen accompanying female and young brood.

Diet

Mainly seeds. Plant material in diet includes seeds of smartweeds, sedges, grasses, pondweeds, others. Also eats insects, snails, small crustaceans. In one study, migrants consumed mostly seeds and other plant material in fall, a higher proportion of animal matter (mainly insects) in spring.


Nesting

Several males may court one female, making ritualized mock feeding and preening movements. Short display flights may develop into pursuit flights, with males chasing female. Nest site usually close to water among good cover of sedges, weeds, salt grass, generally well concealed. Nest is a shallow depression with some dead grass and weeds added, lined with down. Female selects nest site and builds nest.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
Learn more about these drawings.

Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

May migrate mostly by day. Not so much a long-distance migrant as Blue-winged Teal. Some records of northern Cinnamons reaching South America, based on banding returns, may reflect misidentifications: some teal are very hard to identify in fall, even in the hand, so some Blue-wings may be banded under guise of Cinnamon Teal.

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Migration

May migrate mostly by day. Not so much a long-distance migrant as Blue-winged Teal. Some records of northern Cinnamons reaching South America, based on banding returns, may reflect misidentifications: some teal are very hard to identify in fall, even in the hand, so some Blue-wings may be banded under guise of Cinnamon Teal.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
A soft quack; various chattering and clucking notes.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
Learn more about this sound collection.

How climate change could affect this bird's range

In the broadest and most detailed study of its kind, Audubon scientists have used hundreds of thousands of citizen-science observations and sophisticated climate models to predict how birds in the U.S. and Canada will react to climate change.

Learn more

Read more: climate.audubon.org
Duck-like Birds Surface Feeding Ducks

Cinnamon Teal

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season.

More on reading these maps.

Each map is a visual guide to where a particular bird species may find the climate conditions it needs to survive in the future. We call this the bird’s “climatic range.”

The colors indicate the season in which the bird may find suitable conditions— blue for winter, yellow for summer (breeding), and green for where they overlap (indicating their presence year-round).

The darker the shaded area, the more likely it is the bird species will find suitable climate conditions to survive there.

The outline of the approximate current range for each season remains fixed in each frame, allowing you to compare how the range will expand, contract, or shift in the future.

The first frame of the animation shows where the bird can find a suitable climate today (based on data from 2000). The next three frames predict where this bird’s suitable climate may shift in the future—one frame each for 2020, 2050, and 2080.

You can play or pause the animation with the orange button in the lower left, or select an individual frame to study by clicking on its year.

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season. More on reading these maps.
Winter
Summer

Winter Range
Summer Range
Both Seasons
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