Kingdoms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Anseriformes / Anatidae / Anas / Species
< >  Anas castanea - Chestnut teal (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Red-breasted teal
Chestnut-breasted teal
Brown teal
Australian brown teal
Mountain teal
Kastanienente (German)
Sarcelle rousse (French)
Sarcelle d’Australie (French)
Cerceta castana (Spanish)
Cerceta de pecho castaņo (Spanish)
Cerceta castaņa (Spanish)
Anas castanea castanea
Nettion castanea

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, B8, B19, B25, B26.

Aviculture references:
B7, B29, B30, B31, B40, B94, B97, B108, B128.w1, B128.w2, B139
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:

  • Chestnut teal (Chestnut-breasted teal) are easy to keep, being quite winter-hardy, easy to manage, feed and breed, generally unaggressive and suitable for mixed collections with other small ducks. Feed grain, pellets, greenfood and bread. They are unlikely to stray once established if allowed fully flighted.
  • These ducks may lay up to three clutches if eggs removed before incubation starts. May lay from March or April in the northern hemisphere, in ground-level or raised nest boxes, or in ground cover. Ducklings are easy to rear along with other ducklings.
  • Hybridisation reports common, but firmly-paired drakes rarely pursue other females. Hybridisation reported with Anas species, also with Amazonetta brasiliensis - Brazilian teal and Clangula hyemalis - Long-tailed duck (ducklings were not reared).

(B29, B30, B31, B40, B94, B97, B108, B128.w2, B139).

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme recommended average ring size: K 10.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 16 inches, 40cm (B3); 35-46cm (B1).
Adult weight General 600-700g (B1).
Male 340-708g average 595g (B3); mean 1.3 lbs. (B8).
Female 368-737g average 539g (B3); mean 1.3 lbs. (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Adult Bill Male Dark blue-grey (B3, B5, B8, B25, B26).
Variations (If present) --
Eyes (Iris) Male Red (B3, B5, B8, B25, B26)
Variations(If present) Duller red (B3, B25).
Juvenile Bill Dark blue-grey (B3, B25).
Eyes (Iris) Red (B25).

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Adult Male Greenish-grey (B3, B25, B26).
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Greenish-grey (B3, B25).

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Adult Male Head and neck glossy green-black, breast, abdomen and flanks deep chestnut with dark brown spots particularly on flanks, tail, tail-coverts and rump blackish with white sides to ventral area behind flanks. Upperparts dark brown with reddish feather edges. Wings dark brown, greater coverts wide white tips, secondaries green-glossed black, narrowly white tipped (B3, B5, B8, B25, B26).
Variations (If present) Female:- face fawn with black streaking, throat pale buff, crown dark brown.: underparts paler feathers with dark brown centres, upperparts dark brown feathers with buffish feather edges. Wing similar to male (B3, B25, B26).

Eclipse:- Duller, with brownish feathering, sometimes very similar to female but still brighter (B3, B8, B25).

Juvenile Similar to female (B3, B5, B25, B26).

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts blackish brown with whitish markings; underparts whitish buff, face fulvous with dark eyeline and second line below (B1, B5).
Bill: Grey (B5).
Feet: Grey (B5).

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Reproductive Season

Time of year Starts June to November, peaks August (B1). Peak October (B3, B26).
No. of Clutches Often two and sometimes three (B1, B3, B25).

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Nest placement and structure

In tree hollows, on ground in tall grass or bushes near water, sometimes in rock crevices, also uses nest-boxes where provided; down-lined (B1, B3, B5, B8, B25, B26).

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 7-10 (B1).
Range 8-12 (B8); 5-17 (B1).
Egg Description Rich light cream (B3, B5, B8, B26); size: 51x37mm; weight: 40g (B3).

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23-28 days, mean 26 days (B8); 23-29 days (B1); 28 days (B3, B26).

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56 days (B1, B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males One year old (B1, B3).
Females One year old (B1, B3).

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Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dabble and mud-filter in very shallow water (B1, B3, B8, B26).
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Solitary or in colonies (B1).
Incubation By female (B3).
Newly-hatched Male frequently remains with brood and helps female to tend (B3, B5, B25, B26).


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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Found as pairs or in small groups; sometimes larger flocks of several hundred birds (B25, B26).
Inter-specific Often in mixed flocks with Anas gibberifrons - grey teal (B1, B26); sometimes feeds in association with Australian pelicans (B25).

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Sexual Behaviour

Pair forming begins March, continues through winter (B26). Pair bonds may be extended, even permanent (B8).

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Predation in Wild

Foxes, snakes, blue-tongued skinks, little ravens, swamp harriers, whistling kites, goshawks, purple swamphens, Biziura lobata - Musk ducks: take eggs and ducklings; harriers and peregrine falcons take adults (B8, B26).

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Activity Patterns

Forage on rising tide on mudflats (B8).
Circadian --

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Natural Diet


Probably small aquatic invertebrates, seeds and vegetative parts aquatic and shoreline vegetation, sedges, grasses (B1, B26).

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)


Coastal western, southern and eastern Australia, locally further inland, and Bass Strait Islands, Kangaroo Island, Tasmania (B1, B19).

Generally sedentary, small-scale dispersion inland and along coasts, but vagrants throughout Australia and to New Guinea (B1).

Occasional and Accidental




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Swamps, marshes, estuaries, coastal lagoons; sometimes inland waters (B1, B3, B8, B19, B25, B26).

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Intraspecific variation


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Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Not globally threatened; widely scattered and locally common, although declined in 20th century, have increased where nest boxes provided (B1, B8).

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats Loss of wetlands, hunting (B1).

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Captive Populations


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