Blue-winged Teal

Spatula discors




Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White to olive.

Number of Eggs:

6 - 15

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground, near water.

Nest Material:

Lined with down, grass and weeds.





Blue-winged Teal: Small dabbling duck; purple-gray head and distinct white crescent on face. Upperparts are scaled buff and dark brown; underparts are pale brown with dark spots. Wings have green speculum and pale blue shoulder patch. Female has no purple on head, shows white at base of bill, and has scaled instead of spotted underparts. Juvenile resembles female; has plainer upperparts and more heavily spotted underparts; young male has brighter metallic green on speculum and a more distinct white stripe than young female; lacks white at base of bill.

Range and Habitat

Blue-winged Teal: Breeds in northern prairies and parklands of central North America and spends winters from Central America and the Caribbean south to Peru and northeastern Brazil. Preferred nesting habitats include wetland areas within grasslands, such as marshes, ponds, and lakes. Winter habitats are mostly swamps and shallow wetlands.

Breeding and Nesting

Blue-winged Teal: Pair formation begins in the winter and continues through spring during their migration. Six to fifteen white to olive eggs are laid in a ground hollow filled with grass and weeds and lined with down. The nest is built by the female and is usually hidden in tall grass near water. The female incubates the egss for 22 to 27 days. The young fly in 35 to 49 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Blue-winged Teal: These birds limit foraging to aquatic areas in the shallow water and mudflats. The majority of their diet is plant matter, particularly seeds. Only during the period just before and during egg-laying do adult females consume large amounts of aquatic invertebrates, mainly insect larva and snails, to meet the heightened protein requirements for egg production.


Blue-winged Teal: Utters a high whistled "tsee tsee."

Similar Species

Blue-winged Teal: Adult male is unmistakable. Female is larger than female Green-winged Teal, and has larger bill and spotted undertail coverts. Female Cinnamon Teal has larger bill and is more brown on face and body.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
The short feathers overlying the median secondary coverts on the top of the wing. They are located near the back and can be seen as the “first row” of feathers on the birds wing. They are also called marginal coverts and lesser secondary coverts.
The brightly colored area on the wing (secondaries of the wing) on several duck species.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X