|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.|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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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
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsA soft quack; various chattering and clucking notes.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Cinnamon Teal
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Cinnamon Teal
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.