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Learn More About The Teal Duck

The Teal duck is the smallest duck species in Europe. Find out more about it here.

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Bird of the month: the Teal

Teal

Appearance

The teal is 35-36 centimeters in length, making it the smallest duck of Europe. Despite this, it is impossible to miss! From October to June, the male’s head and it’s shimmering nuptial plumage stands out. While the body is covered with a fine, gray and white pattern, only interrupted on the back by a white longitudinal strip, the head is of a bright auburn with a bright green stripe. This stripe extends in a wide arch from the eye to the neck. The rear part is black and carries two yellowish white triangles, visible on the sides. Females’ plumage is much simpler: they wear a spotted dark to bright brown plumage with a dazzling green spot on the wings. The back and the wings are darker than the rest of the plumage, while the chest is often lighter. Except during the nuptial season, both male and female wear the same plumage.

 

Occurrence

The small pretty duck spreads over great areas in Europe and Asia, a subspecies even lives in North America. Eurasian Teals breed in Scandinavia, Iceland, Russia and so on. Some Teals remain throughout the year in countries such as France, Germany or the United Kingdom, but most of them fly to Mediterranean regions during the winter. Teals enjoy small freshwater ponds with a lush underwater flora, but also banks with thick vegetation.

 

Photographing tips

Teals are looking for their food in the shallow wetlands: their short neck isn’t really convenient to search food very deeply. Instead, they use their powerful tongue to pull small animals and plants from the ground.

In the late summer, you can meet groups of Teals on harvested fields, where they peck the remaining kernels. In winter, the ducks rest during the day and look for food only when the sun goes down.

The female is looking to hatch her eggs from mid-April. The dense vegetation of the shores is perfect to camouflage the nest, which is built on the ground. The incubation lasts approx. 24 days and the female is the one who takes care of the chicks once they have hatched: she shows them that the banks are ideal to stay protected and find food. She’s also the one, which will go in the water with the little ones.

 

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