Jukka Jantunen/Vireo

Green-winged Teal

Anas crecca

Conservation status Very common and widespread.
Family Ducks and Geese
Habitat Marshes, rivers, bays. In summer, open country near shallow freshwater lakes and marshes. In migration and winter, found on coastal estuaries and tidal marshes, also on shallow lakes and ponds inland, seeming to prefer those with much standing or floating vegetation.
Our smallest dabbling duck. Very common and widespread, remaining through the winter farther north than other teal. Often rests out of the water, even standing on low snags or branches. Flocks in flight appear very fast because of small size, with rapid twisting and turning in unison. Typically travels in small flocks, but in winter or at migration stopovers, may gather in concentrations of thousands.
Photo Gallery
Feeding Behavior

Forages by wading or swimming in very shallow water while filtering mud with bill, up-ending, or picking items from water's surface. May feed by night or day.


Eggs

6-11, rarely up to 15 or 18. Cream to pale buff. Incubation is by female only, 20-24 days, usually 21. Young: leave nest a few hours after hatching. Female cares for ducklings, which may return to the nest for the first few nights; young find all their own food. Young fledge at about 35 days.


Young

leave nest a few hours after hatching. Female cares for ducklings, which may return to the nest for the first few nights; young find all their own food. Young fledge at about 35 days.

Diet

Mostly plant material. Diet quite variable with season and location. Feeds especially on seeds of grasses, sedges, pondweeds, many others. Also takes aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks, tadpoles; rarely earthworms, fish eggs. May feed more on animal matter in summer, seeds in winter.


Nesting

Pairs usually arrive already mated on breeding grounds. In one courtship display, male rears up out of water, arching head forward and downward to shake bill very rapidly in water while giving a sharp whistle. Nest site is usually among grasses and weeds of meadow, sometimes in open woodland or brush, within 200' of water. Well hidden by surrounding grasses or shrubs, which often form complete canopy. Nest (built by female) is a shallow depression filled with grasses, twigs, and leaves, lined with down.

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

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Migration

After breeding, adults may go through annual molt near nesting area or may move hundreds of miles in late summer before going through flightless stage of molt. Main fall migration much later, mostly October to early December. Females may move somewhat farther south than males, on average. Spring migration begins early, with mated pairs often traveling north together. The race of Green-wings on Aleutian Islands, Alaska, is mostly non-migratory. American Green-wings regularly stray to Europe, and Eurasian Green-wings occur annually in North America.

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Migration

After breeding, adults may go through annual molt near nesting area or may move hundreds of miles in late summer before going through flightless stage of molt. Main fall migration much later, mostly October to early December. Females may move somewhat farther south than males, on average. Spring migration begins early, with mated pairs often traveling north together. The race of Green-wings on Aleutian Islands, Alaska, is mostly non-migratory. American Green-wings regularly stray to Europe, and Eurasian Green-wings occur annually in North America.

Songs and Calls
Clear repeated whistle. Females quack.