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Blue-winged Teal - BirdForum Opus

Male in breeding plumage
Photo by bobsofpa
Paynes Prairie State Park, Florida, USA, February 2015
Spatula discors


Photo © by bobsofpa
Eco Pond, Everglades National Park, Florida, USA, April 2008

Length 35–41 cm (14-16"), wingspan 63–69 cm, weight 270–410 g

  • Small brown duck
  • Pale blue forewing patches, obvious in flight, and when preening, but hidden at rest.


  • Blue-gray head with white crescent in front of eye
  • Orangey-brown flanks with black spots
  • Black tail coverts and white thigh patch


  • Mottled brown; intermediate between females of Cinnamon Teal and Garganey, with stronger patterning on face and pale spot at base of bill than former, but less marked than latter
  • Grayer and larger billed than female Green-winged Teal, with pale blue shoulder patches like male, and lacks pale streak under tail sides.

Juvenile and eclipse male

  • Similar to female


Mainly North America.

Breeds from southeastern Alaska and western Canada east to southern Newfoundland and south to northeastern California, Texas, and Maryland.

Winters from southern California, southern Texas, and North Carolina southward through Central America to northern South America.

Vagrants are record in the British Isles annually (though some may have escaped from wildfowl collections); also recorded from most other western European countries, Morocco, and Hawaii and the Galapagos Islands.


Male molting out of eclipse, showing blue forewing while preening
Photo © by David Roach
Wakodahatchee, Florida, October 2005

Most closely related to Cinnamon Teal (with hybrids recorded frequently); also less closely to Garganey, Northern Shoveler, and the other shovelers.

This is a monotypic species[1].

Subspecies S. d. orphna is generally considered invalid[2].
Formerly placed in the genus Anas.


Marshes, shallow ponds, and lakes.


These birds fly in small groups or flocks.


The female incubates the 9-12 dull white eggs in a down-lined hollow concealed in grass near water. The male guards.


Soft lisping or peeping note. Female utters a soft quack.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728

Recommended Citation

External Links

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