Green-winged Teal

Anas crecca

A very small, brightly patterned duck, the Green-winged Teal prefers shallow ponds with lots of emergent vegetation. Along the coast, it prefers tidal creeks, mudflats, and marshes to more open water.

Interesting Information

  • The American and Eurasian forms of the Green-winged Teal were formerly considered different species. The Eurasian teal differ from the American by lacking the vertical white shoulder stripe and having a horizontal white stripe along the back instead. Eurasian teal show up casually each year along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

  • It was considered conspecific with the Common Teal for some time, and the issue is still being reviewed by the American Ornithologists' Union.

  • This is the smallest North American dabbling duck.

  • A group of teal has many collective nouns, including a "coil", "dopping", "knob", "paddling", and "spring" of teal.


Adult Description

Green-winged Teal are the smallest of the dabbling ducks - about the size of a pigeon. The drake has a brownish head with a dark green patch extending back from the eyes. The chest is light brown flecked with brown spots. A white vertical band separates the chest from the gray back and sides. The hen is mottled brown. Both sexes have green wing patches.


Similar to adult female.


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

© 2003 Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Preferred habitats include marshes, ponds, and marshy lakes.


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


Eats seeds, aquatic plants, insects, mollusks, crustaceans, and tadpoles found while foraging in and adjacent to mudflats or while dabbling in shallow water.



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
     Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
    Subfamily: Anserinae
Genus: Anas
Species: Anas crecca
    Subspecies: Anas crecca carolinensis
  Anas crecca crecca
  Anas crecca nimia

Similar Species

Female Blue-winged Teal is grayer brown, has white near the base of the bill, has a larger bill, has a large blue wing patch in front of the green one, and a dark, not white, belly.

Bird Sound

Male gives single-noted whistle. Female gives shrill quack.

Eggs look like this

Photo taken from: Arkive