Cinnamon Teal

Anas cyanoptera

A small brightly colored duck, the Cinnamon Teal is found in ponds throughout the American West.

Interesting Information

  • The Cinnamon Teal is the only duck with separate breeding populations in North America and South America.

  • Unlike most North American dabbling ducks, the Cinnamon Teal rarely breeds in the midcontinent prairie-parkland region.

  • The female Cinnamon Teal often places her nest below matted, dead stems of vegetation so it is completely concealed on all sides and from above. She approaches the nest through tunnels in the vegetation.


Adult Description

  • Size: 36-43 cm (14-17 in)

  • Weight: 280-500 g (9.88-17.65 ounces)

  • Small duck.

  • Large light blue patches on front of wing, visible in flight.

  • Male has bright cinnamon red head and body.

  • Top of wing with a large light blue patch near the front and a line of green feathers along the rear.

  • White under the wings.

  • Bill black and rather large.

Sex Differences


Breeding (Alternate) Plumage

Bright cinnamon head and body plumage. Dark rump, tail, and undertail. Upper wing with light-blue patch with white rear border. Back of wing iridescent green. Eyes red.

Eclipse (Basic) Plumage

Gray-brown overall, with rusty wash. Small white area at base of bill. Eyes red.


Gray-brown overall, with small white area at base of bill. Bill dark. Light-blue upper wing patch with narrow white border. Back of wing mostly brown, with little green.


Similar to adult female.


Photo taken from: The Sibley Field Guide by David Allen Sibley

© 2003 Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Uses freshwater (including highly alkaline) seasonal and semipermanent wetlands of various sizes, including large marshes, reservoirs, sluggish streams, ditches, and stock ponds.


Feeds mainly on surface. Dabbles with just bill in water or tips up with entire head underwater.


Seeds and aquatic vegetation, aquatic and semi-terrestrial insects, snails, and zooplankton.



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
     Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
    Subfamily: Anserinae
Genus: Anas
Species: Anas cyanoptera
    Subspecies: Anas cyanoptera borreroi
  Anas cyanoptera cyanoptera
  Anas cyanoptera orinoma
  Anas cyanoptera septentrionalium
  Anas cyanoptera tropica

Similar Species

  • Ruddy Duck, the only other small reddish duck, has large white cheek patch.
  • Female Blue-winged Teal very similar in appearance, but is more grayish brown, and has more patterned body feathers, a more patterned face, and a shorter bill.
  • Female Green-winged Teal is darker brown, lacks white near the base of the bill, has a smaller bill, and lacks the blue wing patch.

Bird Sound

Female gives loud, evenly spaced quacks. Male makes series of "chuk" notes.

Eggs look like this

Photo taken from: ARCTOS Collaborative Collection Management Solution