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< >  Anas capensis - Cape teal (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Cape wigeon
African Cape teal
Pink-billed duck
Pink-billed teal
Fahlente (German)
Kapente (German)
Sarcelle du Cap (French)
Cerceta del Cabo (Spanish)

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases


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Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

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

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

Other References

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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


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:

  • Cape teal are generally considered winter-hardy, but may require a dry, drought-proof shelter in cold climates, perhaps even slight heating in prolonged frost. They are suitable for mixed collections with other small ducks, although they can be aggressive and territorial in breeding season. Feed as other ducks (grain, pellets, green food, bread).
  • Cape teal are not difficult to breed and may produce two or three clutches of eggs in one year. The laying season is variable in Europe, may be from February to June. They may use natural cover, ground level nest box or a raised nest box, within 5-6 metres of water. Artificial incubation and hand rearing is straightforward, with sufficient heat.
  • Hybridisation occurs occasionally with some Anas spp., and also has been reported with Amazonetta brasiliensis - Brazilian teal and Aythya fuligula - Tufted duck.

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

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme recommended average ring size: J 9.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 18 inches, 46cm (B3); 44-48cm (B1)
Adult weight General 316-502g (B1).
Male 352-502g average 419g; mean 14.8 ounces (B8).
Female 316-451g average 380g (B3); mean 13.4 ounces (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Adult Bill Male Pink with black nail, black markings at base and grey-blue at tip.
Variations (If present) --
Eyes (Iris) Male Variable yellow/orange/brown.
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Duller pink than adults.
Eyes (Iris) --

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Adult Male Yellowish brown with dark webs.
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Yellowish brown with dark webs.

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Adult Male Head, neck and underparts (including tail, tail-coverts, rump) pale grey with fine brown-black speckling on head and neck, larger markings on body. Slight crest on nape. Upperparts dark brown with reddish buff feather edges.

Wings dark grey-brown, darker primaries, metallic green/black secondaries with white tips and broad white tips to greater coverts: speculum green with white borders.

Variations (If present) Female has smaller spots on breast.
Juvenile Duller with less markings.

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts grey brown, underparts and markings on back whitish. Whitish face has grey patch around eye, greyish breast-band.
Bill: Pinkish.
Feet: Pinkish.

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Reproductive Season

Time of year Varies depending on geographic location and with rainfall - triggered by sporadic rainfall. Greatest nesting March to May in eastern Africa, August to November in South Africa.
No. of Clutches --

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Nest placement and structure

On the ground in vegetation, often on islands, frequently some distance from water, a scrape lined with down.

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 7-8 (B8).
Range 6-11 (B1, B8).
Egg Description Pale to deep cream. Size: 49 x 36mm, weight 30g (B3).

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26-30 days (B1); 25-30 days, mean 26 days (B8).

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About 8 weeks (B1); 49-60 days (B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males One year old.
Females One year old.

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Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dabble, head-dip, up-end, and occasionally dive.
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Nest as solitary pairs.
Incubation By female.
Newly-hatched Both care for the brood.


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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Usually found as pairs or family groups, but sometimes form flocks for the moult.
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Pair bonds strong and may be permanent.

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Predation in Wild


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Activity Patterns

Circadian --

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Natural Diet


Aquatic invertebrates, tadpoles, seeds, leaves and stems of aquatic plants.

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)


Sudan, Ethiopia southward to Namibia and South Africa.

Wanders during droughts, regularly to Lake Chad area in dry season.

Occasional and Accidental

Occasionally north to Libya.



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Shallow brackish or saline lagoons, also fresh water bodies, rivers, and coasts.

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Intraspecific variation


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Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Widespread, locally common (B1).

CITES listing CITES III in Ghana (B1).
Red-data book listing --
Threats --

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Captive Populations

Common in collections (B8).

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