We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the Green-Winged Teal?

By Angie Bates
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
AllThingsNature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At AllThingsNature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The smallest known dabbling duck, the green-winged teal is a North American water fowl named for the bright green patch on the male's wings. Normally found in Canada and the northern United States during breeding season, this duck can be seen throughout North America during migration. The scientific name for the green-winged teal is Anas crecca.

The green-winged teal is generally between 12.2–15.4 inches (31–39 cm) long, with a maximum wingspan of about 23 inches (59 cm). Nonbreeding males, juveniles, and females all have a mottled gray or brown coloring. A breeding male, however, has a rust colored head with a thick green stripe covering each eye and curving down toward its neck. Although it has a patch of green on each wing, the majority of its wings and body are mostly gray, with a mottled brown and black chest. A vertical stripe runs down each side of its body near its wings, and it is this stripe that distinguishes the North American population from the Eurasian teal, which has a white stripe running down its back instead.

Living in marshes and near lakes and ponds, these ducks primarily eat local vegetation, as well as various invertebrates such as aquatic insects, tadpoles, and crustaceans. Their diets change depending on the availability of specific food sources during a particular season. A dabbler, the green-winged teal will dip its beak or head into the water in search of food, sometimes tipping its entire body vertically in order to reach its food source.

Although the green-winged teal can be found throughout the United States during migration, during breeding season they are found primarily in Alaska, Canada, and the Northwestern to north Midwestern areas of the US. They generally breed during summer months, spending the winter farther south. Some of these ducks winter as far south as Central America. Despite a strong population decline in the mid-1900s, the green-winged teal has since recovered its numbers. In 2009, the estimated population of this species was 3.4 million.

Pair bonds are only formed during mating season and are dissolved during the incubation period. Females build nests on the ground near a water source and under the cover of vegetation. Nests are shallow holes that are lined with grasses and down. After mating occurs, the female green-winged teal will lay an average of eight or nine eggs and have sole incubation responsibility for about three weeks. The ducklings are mobile mere hours after hatching and will fledge approximately one month later.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Green-winged Teal and where can it be found?

The Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) is a small dabbling duck native to North America and Eurasia. It's known for its striking plumage, with males sporting a chestnut head and a bright green eye patch. These birds are highly migratory and can be found in wetlands, marshes, and shallow ponds. They breed in the northern areas and winter in the southern regions, including parts of the United States, Central America, and the Caribbean.

What does the Green-winged Teal eat?

Green-winged Teals have a diverse diet that includes seeds, aquatic invertebrates, and plant matter. They typically feed by dabbling on the water surface or by tipping up to reach food underwater. During breeding season, their diet shifts to include more protein-rich invertebrates, which is crucial for the development of their offspring.

How can you identify a male from a female Green-winged Teal?

Male Green-winged Teals are easily distinguishable by their bold plumage, featuring a chestnut head with a wide green stripe running from the eye to the back of the neck. In contrast, females are mottled brown with a less conspicuous plumage, which provides excellent camouflage among marsh vegetation. Both sexes have a green speculum (wing patch) bordered by white, which is visible in flight.

What is the breeding behavior of the Green-winged Teal?

Green-winged Teals are monogamous during the breeding season. They nest on the ground, often in dense vegetation near water. The female lays 6-11 eggs and incubates them for about three weeks. After hatching, the ducklings are precocial and able to leave the nest within a day, guided by the female to water where they learn to feed.

Are Green-winged Teals endangered?

Green-winged Teals are not currently endangered. They are one of the most abundant duck species in North America, with a stable and even increasing population in some areas. Conservation efforts, such as wetland preservation and management, have been beneficial for these ducks, ensuring their habitats are protected.

What is the significance of the Green-winged Teal for birdwatchers and conservationists?

For birdwatchers, the Green-winged Teal is a prized sighting due to its striking appearance and dynamic flock movements. Conservationists value the species as an indicator of wetland health. Their presence and population trends can reflect changes in water quality and availability, making them important for monitoring ecosystem integrity and guiding conservation actions.

AllThingsNature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

AllThingsNature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

AllThingsNature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.