Teal: Learn about its characteristics, extinction and more

The teal is a very beautiful duck, of great qualities with many curiosities and that has different species among the most outstanding we have the common teal, and the brown teal, which we will describe a little of their lives from their habitats, feeding, reproduction of the same, as well as the main characteristics of each bird.

These birds belong to the group of the family Anatidae, which inhabit in Eurasia and Africa, they are migratory birds, they spend the winter in the south of Africa, and return to their habitats when this one finishes, these ducks are the smallest within all the species of ducks, the teal is a very pretty elegant bird and with its great beak it is undoubtedly not to recognize it.

Normally the teal has a dark gray color or a little mottled, what differentiates one species from the other are some colors within its plumage, as the common teal, which has a green mask on his face and neck, are very easy to recognize, These are very easy to recognize, they are used to be in wide places and near rivers, lakes among others, but the brown teal is not far from these places, it could be said that they share several similarities except for their color, because this one is more opaque for having the same aged brown color in all its body even in its face.

Most of these species tend to reproduce in winter, although their reproduction is a little low, it increases during the winter.

Being migratory birds they must adapt to different spaces, normally when they travel they do it with large groups, they are never alone or at least during a migration trip, when they are in the spring season they tend to emit sounds and cheerful songs, among all those who belong to the group, and even sing during their travels, while they are in the air.

The common teal, is characterized by the color of the head of the males this is brown or intense cinnamon color more shiny, at the same time they possess the already mentioned spot of metallic green color.

Normally they reproduce in North America and come to spread throughout the South, these birds have favorite places for breeding and reproduction, among which are the heathlands, marshes, ferns, and lake shores, these spaces should be abundant vegetation, to feed their young after hatching.

Teals belong to groups of families, in the case of the brown teal is known by the scientific name of Marmaronetta Angustirostris, is an anseriform bird and belongs to the family Anatidae, this is characterized by being brown or pale gray, like the common teal breeds in places with abundant vegetation to provide food for the chicks.


The characteristics of teal are very common for both species are of great importance to distinguish one from the other, they share some notations, feeding and other qualities, in this case to name and emphasize we are inquiring about the common teal and the brown teal, which we can make comparisons.

These ducks are of small size, their measures are of 40 cm approximately, both species, have an abundant and shiny plumage, in any case, one of the teals is more striking than the other for its colors, but it does not mean that one is more important than the other, on the contrary both are of such importance for the nature.

Common teal

The common teal is small in size, has a very striking color, the plumage of these is abundant and fluffy, it is distinguished by having gray feathers combined with cinnamon and blue-green feathers, the difference between the female and the male is that it has a small crest on his head that the female does not have, this is the only aspect that can distinguish the female from the male because the rest of its coloration is very similar.

It belongs to the Anatidae family in the order of Anseriformes, the weight of these birds is between 500 and 600 grams in the case of the male, while the female has a weight of 400 to 550 grams, the average size of the common teal is 39 to 42 cm in length and 63 to 67 cm wingspan.

The bill of the teal is elongated and elegant, it gives the duck a distinct style and is one of the most characteristic features of the duck, it is light blue or very light greenish in color.

They have feathers at the end of their wings that give them a tone between white with black lines, these cute ducks have a very nice metallic plumage.

Brown teal

The brown teal is the same size as the common teal, as well as the weight between male and female, remembering that these weights and sizes are approximate, because from one duck to another can vary between mm and grams, the plumage of this teal is beige, with brown tones and a white mottling.

These birds have a brown color on the face with a mottled, between the eye, they have an abundant plumage throughout its body.

The wings of the brown teal are long and slender, have large feathers and share the same body color, the legs of this bird are elongated but not very large, are what give it an appearance of fatness and make them look small both common teal and brown teal.

Here is a video of the brown teal so you can learn more about this beautiful bird.

In the case of the male brown teal, it has an elongated beak and this is black, but it has a blue line that goes towards the tip.

These teals do not have mirrors, both species feed on different fruits and seeds of nature, as well as larvae, insects and other species, both are monogamous, they only mate with one female in their lifetime.

Classification and origin

Mainly the brown teal was described by the French scientist and zoologist Édouard Ménétries in 1832, which he characterized with the name Anas Angustrirostris, the same referred to narrow-billed duck.

But this species has changed its name several times, for the year 1953 it was transferred by the German ornithologist Ludwig Reichenbach and changed the name of the genus to Marmaronetta which was named as the only member of this species.

In the case of the common teal, this belongs to the group of typical teals, so called because it is a small group of a surface, characterized by being in the genus of Anas Cercanamente, this species has similarities with other species such as the royal adds of the genus Anas Platyhynchos, but it is understood that these species evolved from a typical teal.

This teal resembles and is grouped with the American teal of the order Anas Corolinensis, as well as the Barcina teal of the order Anas Flavirostris.

The common teal was considered by many scientists as a single species together with the American teal, but there is a dispute as ornithologists consider these species of separate origins.

The scientist Carlos Linneo in the work sytema naturae of the year 1758, classified this species with the name of Anas Crecca, which has a meaning very similar to that of the brown teal “duck that makes cryc”, this was the name given to this bird.

But later three subspecies belonging to this species were classified within the scale of this species, such as the Eurasian Teal, of the genus Anas Crecca Creacca Creacca in Linnaeus in the year 1758, the other species that was called Eleutheran teal of the genus Anas Crecca Nimia in Friedmann, in 1948, and the third and last of the denominations is the American Teal of the genus Anas Creca Carolinensis, in Gemelin, in the year 1789.

The common teal is a species different from the others in spite of its similarities, because each species is unique and the only thing that cannot be doubted is that they all belong to a single classification, because they are small ducks with different colors.


Teals share many qualities, except for some differences they have, beyond their colors or plumage, they have an interesting diet full of varieties, such as seeds and fruits, these birds reorganize in the breeding season to be comfortable when the chicks are born and have to leave the nest, it is for this reason that they prefer to nest in space a little away from the water, although this is part of their natural habitat.

These birds have a peculiar song that they usually sharpen in autumn, when they are in the air or taking a bath in the lakes they tend to sing loudly and you can quickly distinguish them.

These two birds are very similar, as how not to be if they are familiar although something very curious about them is that their way of nesting is different, later we will indicate how they make the nests each teal.


The feeding of the teal and the marbled teal is very similar because they are ducks and normally look for their food under the water, they submerge their heads in search of fish or different species that live in the water.

Teals feed on different invertebrates, looking for food in the water is the most characteristic of the ducks, as these birds can not dive deep into the water should consider swimming a little along the banks while the species are approaching them, when they have in sight the food they remain calm and try not to move to not scare them away.

When it is very difficult to hunt fish in the sea, these birds leave the water to look for other food, if they do not get fish in the sea, they enjoy fruits, different flavors, seeds, as well as other species to be able to stay standing and active.

Among the food we find crustaceans, insect larvae among others, for the ducks is of utmost importance to get food in a hidden way, or rather not very scandalous, because when there is a shortage of food ducks fight to eat, it is important to note that teals either common or brown, live in more or less large groups, it is for this reason that when one of them gets the food must hurry to eat it.

During the breeding season, these birds must maintain a diet away from the sea, because between the father and the mother they look for food for the chicks, but they try not to look for it from the sea, since they feed the chicks with fruits and seeds.

Teals feed on worms, slugs, and other insects near the sea, but feeding will depend on the season in which they are, because if they are in autumn they enjoy more seeds and fruits, as well as leaves, but in the winter time is the time to feed on fish, amphibians, small sizes, this type of feeding is called a seasonal fluctuation, which is in turn an advantage for these birds, because at any time of year they can get food.


The teal and marbled teal, as well as the other species of these birds are monogamous, meaning that they only mate with one species, they are very romantic and love to share with their partners before mating.

The courtship of these beautiful birds is very important because the teal must conquer the female as happens in most living species, apparently this is something so natural that the female will be the one to decide whether or not the male will be chosen.

For the autumn and winter season, they begin to look for mates and courtship is very important, normally these birds look for the best hunter and the fastest, this gives them confidence, since the feeding of the chicks that they may have will depend in some way on them.

When the female accepts the male she shares with him and they stay together until mating.

Mating ritual of teals

The teal mating ritual is very important, these are praised and are quite romantic before, during and after mating, although the teal is a bird with very long wings, they use them to conquer the female, but not only the wings, they also put into play their beaks, neck and practically their entire body, as this must be in sensual movements for the female to achieve mating.

The male begins to swim around her, as if he were praising her, the female only observes him.

When the male is swimming he must be very attentive to the female, that she is enjoying the dance and is not distracted by other things, meanwhile the male introduces his head into the water from the bottom up making slow movements, and revealing his long beak.

These rituals occur very often at the end of May and at the beginning of June, by which time these birds must be with their mates in order to reproduce.


The nests of these birds are made by themselves, they always try to look for places away from the water to hide and protect their eggs, teals are very good mothers and fathers, either of the common or brown species, or another species of the same, they protect their young, feed them and teach them to swim, to fly among other things for their survival.

But these two species have different ways to build their nests or rather their nests are totally different, in the case of the teal, this does not need to look for a very hidden place, it simply nests on the ground, not very common for birds but for ducks.

However, it is not directly on the ground, they must look for a place that is not so exposed to be able to hide among the vegetation, the hole that they will create with their beaks must be wide so that their chicks feel comfortable, they fill them with dry leaves, they pluck feathers to cover it, while waiting for their eggs they begin to make the nest.

The brown teal has a different way of nesting, because it looks for more hidden places among the trunks of trees or more sheltered places, like the common teal covers its nest of dry leaves, feathers and tree branches, usually these birds try to keep the nest before mating to be safer.


These birds lay between 7 and 14 eggs, not bad for the species, because the larger the number of birds, the less soon disappear from their habitats, these eggs have a proportional size of between 41 to 50 by 30 to 35 mm are cream colored with green tints, and in other cases can also come out gray.

After hatching, these eggs remain in the nest for a short time, since they are nidifugous and go out to chase their mother wherever she goes until they feel safe to be alone or until they are old enough to be able to defend themselves.

After the female lays the eggs they are incubated by her for almost 24 days, which are the days necessary for the chick to hatch, when they are born are the parents who are responsible for finding food for them and their mothers, try not to leave them alone too long, because any hungry predator can take advantage of how helpless the chicks are and they can eat them, and it would be very sad for both parents and also unfortunate.

These birds are not very different, between their eggs, mating, courtship among other reproductive facts, the teal and marbled teal are very nice birds, they are usually not alone and tend to share with other birds of their same species.


Teals are migratory birds, they are scattered in various parts of the planet earth, especially in Europe, and migrate to the African continent normally in winter, but they have been observed more frequently in Eurasia, part of Europe and Asia, in these areas teals are usually seen during the breeding season.

For the summer season, a large number of teals in Finland is estimated to number approximately 60,000 to 80,000 pairs, remembering that these birds are always in colonies and in pairs.

These birds remain in the mild climates of Europe, but overlapping winter territories, they can be seen throughout the year in the Caucasus region, on the northern coasts of the Black Sea and west of Asia Minor.

For the winter season, large numbers of these birds can be found in the Mediterranean, as well as in the Iberian Peninsula, these birds are very travelers and can be found in different parts of the continents mentioned above.

Among those that stand out can be observed in Taiwan, in Japan, in the south of Asia, by the currents of the Nile Valley by the Indus Valley, by the Pentanos of the high river the Congo, the Marines of the Niger, among other places where the teals of the different species are distributed, especially the common teal and the brown teal.

Among the estimated number of teals distributed on the planet earth, we have that in Europe there are approximately 250,000 teals of different kinds, more than 110,000 in the Asian country Japan, and finally the amount of 750,000 birds in the Mediterranean.

In Spain these birds are located in the Tablas de Daimiel National Park, in the Doñana National Park, and in the Monfrague National Park, a number of ducks of these species are considered as part of these parks and their fauna.


The habitats of these birds are of utmost importance for them, it is necessary to note that vegetation, wide places, near rivers, lakes, and meadows can be found these cute and beautiful birds, which are certainly of great importance to nature, as well as the rest of the birds and other species of planet earth, these birds share the same characteristics of their habitats with the Colimbos and petrels, they are very interesting water birds.

It is important to emphasize that these birds should be where there are large bodies of water, since they feed firstly on sea fish, and secondly because these are their natural habitats, these birds are happy swimming and being in the water.

The vegetation must be abundant for these birds to remain in one place permanently, since they not only feed on fish, but also on fruits and seeds, which is why the natural cycle is of utmost importance for these species.

Large places with abundant vegetation, terrestrial and aquatic, are the habitats of these subtle birds.

Population and extinction

The population of these birds is of utmost importance, it is a quantity considered, from the estimations that undertakes the organization Birdlife International, considers that there is a world population of 5.900.000 to 6.900.000 specimens in the whole planet earth of teals.

It is of utmost importance this population, because it is a favorable amount for their species, it is for this reason that this bird is considered by the Catalog of the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a species of least concern , something very favorable and exciting.

Although in Spain this species is vulnerable, by different alterations of the humans, as the urbanisms, the constructions, the burning of trees, among other factors caused by the man, in consequence the natural habitat of this species has been lost as of many, and it is for this reason that it is vulnerable, with harás to be preserved, especially the teal Pardilla, is in danger of extinction in Spain, this can be obtained in the red book of endangered species in Spain.

Although this species is not endangered worldwide, only in Spain it is necessary to conserve their natural habitats, because day after day man seeks to satisfy their needs whether social or personal, and leave behind what is really important life in nature, where they inhabit countless birds and different animals, it is for this reason that should not be neglected or stay calm because this species is still protected, on the contrary it is necessary to continue increasing its population, and taking care of the environment this will be achieved.

Before I go I leave you the following video of these cute and beautiful birds, about the danger of extinction of the same.

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