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< >  Anas discors - Blue-winged teal (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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(Waterfowl)

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Bluewing
Blauflügelente (German)
Sarcelle soucrourou (French)
Cerceta aliazul (Spanish)
Cerceta de alas azules (Spanish)
Blauwvleugeltaling (Dutch)
Amerikansk årta (Swedish)
Spatula discors
Querquedula discors

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

Eclipse.

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B2, B3, B5, B8, B19, B25, B26.

Aviculture references:
B7, B29, B30, B31,B40, B94, B97, B128.w1, B128.w2).
D1, D8

Other References

B138
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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information

Notes

General Information:
  • Dabbling Ducks are generally hardy, easy to maintain and easy to breed. Shelter may be required by some of the smaller species in winter. They should be provided with cover (including marginal pond cover) and loafing areas as well as water. A pen which is 50% water is suggested. The water may be shallow (i.e. no more than two feet deep is required), and muddy areas for dabbling in are also appreciated. These ducks are generally good in mixed collections, although the smaller and quieter species may be bullied. Territorial disputes between ducks of the same species may be avoided by keeping only one pair of each species in an enclosure, unless the area is very large. For a single pair of ducks a pen are of 50 to 100 square metres, depending on the size of duck, should be provided.
  • A diet based on wheat and pellets is suggested, with maintenance pellets changed to breeders pellets for the breeding season. Bread and greenfood are also appreciated. Grit should always be available, with soluble grit (e.g. oystershell grit) as a calcium source when breeding.
  • Most species are ground nesters and both close ground cover and ground level nest boxes should be provided. Hand-rearing is generally preferred, as these ducks are generally poor parents in captive conditions, particularly in enclosures shared with other waterfowl. These ducks are prone to hybridization, particularly with closely related species, which should be kept apart from one another.

(B7, B29, B30, B40, B94, B128.w1, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • Blue-winged teal are generally hardy, although winter shelter may be required in cold climates. They are suitable for mixed collections. Sunny grass-covered areas with shallow muddy water and good marginal vegetation are suggested. Feed as other dabbling ducks: pellets, grain, greenfood, bread.
  • These ducks may breed freely. They usually nest concealed in grass or other low vegetation but may also use ground-level nest boxes. Eggs normally laid April to May (B29), from mid-May (B31), May to June (B108). N.B. the sitting duck and eggs are vulnerable to predatory mammals, crows etc. and even hedgehogs, therefore broody or artificial incubation suggested. They may lay a second or third clutch if the eggs are removed. Ducklings may be reared as other Anas species, and are not difficult after the first few days.
  • Hybridises readily with Anas cyanoptera - Cinnamon teal, Anas querquedula - Garganey, , and should not be kept in same enclosure as these ducks. Hybrids also reported with Aythya americana - Redhead, Anas castanea - Chestnut teal, , Anas clypeata - Northern shoveler, Anas platyrhynchos - Mallard, and Wigeons.

(B7, B29, B30, B31, B40, B94, B97, B128.w2).

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme recommended average ring size: H 8.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 14-16 inches, 35-40cm (B3); 35-41cm (B1)
Adult weight General 266-410g (B1)
Male 273-410g average 360g (B3); mean 14.1 ounces (B8).
Female 266-375g average 332g (B3); mean 13.1 ounces (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Black.
Variations (If present) --
Eyes (Iris) Male Brown.
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Black.
Eyes (Iris) Brown.

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Legs

Adult Male Yellow with dusky webs.
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Yellow with dusky webs.

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Plumage

Adult Male Head and neck generally dark grey with purplish gloss, crown and throat black, broad white crescent outlined in black in front of eye. Breast, abdomen and flanks reddish-buff with dark brown spotting, becoming barring at upper hind edge of flanks. Tail, rump and tail coverts black, ventral region white. Upperparts dark brown with scapulars elongated and striped black & buff.

Wings: Primaries and their coverts black-brown, rest of coverts grey-blue with broad white tips to greater coverts, secondaries metallic green.

Variations (If present) Female: head and neck buff-brown with darker streaking, darker crown and eyestripe, white patch by bill. Underparts buff with darker brown mottling and scallops on flanks, upperparts dark brown with pale buff feather edges. Wing: Primaries and their coverts black-brown, rest of coverts grey-blue with greater coverts mainly brown, slight white markings, secondaries metallic green

Eclipse: similar to female, but darker crown, more streaking on head, retains wing pattern.

Juvenile Similar to female but plainer upperparts, more heavily spotted underparts.

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts light sepia brown with yellow markings, underparts and sides of head creamy yellow. Dark eye line from eye backwards and ‘ear’ patch.
Bill: Dark grey.
Feet: Dark grey.

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Begins May.
No. of Clutches May re-nest after loss of clutch.

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Nest placement and structure

On ground near water but where dry, concealed in waterside vegetation, lined with grass and down.

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 8-11 (B1).
Range 6-15 (B1); 8-13 (B8).
Egg Description Olive-white to creamy (B3, B8). Size: 46x33mm, weight: 29g (B3).

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Incubation

21-27 days, mean 23-24 days (B1, B8).

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Hatching

Synchronous.

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Fledging

35-44 days (B1, B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males Presumed Anas standard: one year old.
Females Presumed Anas standard: one year old.

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dabbles in shallows among vegetation, sometimes head-dips, rarely upends, rarely dives.
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By female only.
Incubation By female only.
Newly-hatched Tended by female alone.
Juveniles

Broods sometimes merge. Able to migrate separate from parent.

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Frequently found in small (30-40 bird) flocks.
Inter-specific Mix with other dabbling ducks, coots and shorebirds while foraging in shallow lagoons.

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Sexual Behaviour

Pair bond reasonably strong. Male leaves female part way through incubation period.

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Predation in Wild

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Activity Patterns

Often rests perching on logs, boulders and tree stumps.
Circadian Often feed mainly at night, particularly where heavy hunting.

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Natural Diet

Adults

Insects, molluscs and crustaceans important; also seeds, green parts and roots of grasses, sedges, pondweeds, algae, rice and grain.

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Newly-hatched

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal

Across North America from southern Alaska to Newfoundland and south to central USA.

Migrates to winter further south, in North America from California to North Carolina southward, central America, south America as far as northern Chile and Argentina. Common winter visitor to West Indies, Bermuda.

Occasional and Accidental Vagrant to Europe (frequently Britain), Northwest Africa, Hawaii, Aleutian Islands, Galapagos Islands, Greenland.
Introduced

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Habitat

Small freshwater ponds, lakes marshes, slow-moving rivers and small streams, in open country.

Winters on large areas shallow water including marshes and flooded rice fields, brackish and saline waterbodies and tropical mangrove swamps.

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Abundant: about five million breeding birds (B1).

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats --

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Captive Populations

Common in collections (B8).

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Trade

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