teal have a slate gray head and neck, a black edged white crescent in front of the eyes
and a blackish crown. The breast and sides are tan with dark brown speckles and there is a
white spot on the side of the rump. Most of the upper wing coverts are blue-gray, the
secondaries form an iridescent green speculum, and the underwing is whitish. Females have
a brownish-gray head with a darker crown and eye-stripe. The breast and sides are brown,
the upperparts are olive brown, and the upper wing coverts are bluish but less vibrant
than the drake.
Average length: M 16", F
M 1.0 lbs., F 0.8 lbs.
Blue-winged teal are
generally the first ducks south in the fall and the last north in the spring. They migrate
from the prairie pothole region to wintering areas in Florida, the Caribbean Islands, the
Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, Mexico, and Central and South America. One blue-winged
teal was recorded migrating from Oak Lake, Manitoba to Lima, Peru, a distance of over
4,000 miles. In addition, the drakes tend to begin migration well before the hens and
immatures. Wintering habitats are diverse, including mangrove swamps, fresh and brackish
estuaries, and shallow wetlands.
breed primarily in the northern prairies and parklands of central North America. The
relative abundance of blue-winged teal generally increases from west to east and north to
south within the prairie pothole region. Nesting habitat includes wetland areas within
grasslands, such as shallow marshes, sloughs, flooded ditches, and temporary ponds.
Blue-winged teal are extremely adept at utilizing uncommonly wet conditions south of their
usual primary breeding areas. They have been recorded nesting as far south as the marshes
of the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Texas following Hurricane Beulah, and southern Illinois
after flooding in 1973.