GREEN-WINGED TEAL – (Anas carolinensis)
At around 38 cm (14 in.) long, the Green-winged teal is the smallest dabbling duck in North America. As the name implies, the green-winged teal drake has a green speculum whereas the female is similar to a female mallard, without the blue speculum. The head is medium brown in the male with a green vertical band starting around the eye and extending down to the neck. The upper part is grey and there is a white vertical band above the wing. The bill is black in the male and lighter in the female. Those ducks have a specialized bill with lamellae inside allowing them to filter out small insects and crustaceans
The name ‘teal’ refers to a blue-green color, and this color itself is named after the Common teal.
The green-winged teal habitat is watery areas inland such as marshes and ponds, with dense vegetation such as tall grasses and cattails, where they nest and can hide. They can also be found on flooded plains. In addition to the animal diet cited above, green-winged teals also feed on vegetation in the mud.
Green-winged teals are powerful fliers, taking off directly from the water. Although considered a dabbler, this duck will occasionally dive to avoid a predator.
The green-winged teal breeds in PEI and is very common for most of the year on the island except in the winter. This duck’s breeding territory is most of Canada, Alaska and the northern USA. Its wintering range is mainly in the southern USA and Mexico. Their migratory flocks can number in the tens of thousands. This duck is the most hunted after the mallard, yet their numbers have actually increased, thanks to conservative hunting practices. The fact that this bird nests in remote areas of Canada and in Alaska also helps.
EURASIAN TEAL: The green-winged teal is still sometimes described as a sub-species of the Eurasian Teal (compare photos of both below).