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< >  Anas gracilis - Grey teal (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)









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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Australian teal
Australasian grey teal
Anas gibberifrons gracilis

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, B7, B8, B19, B25, B26.

Aviculture references:
B7, B29, B30, B40, B94, B128.w1, 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:

  • Grey teal may be kept in mixed collection with other ducks in a large area, or maintained in a separate pen. Grain and pellets should be supplemented with green food.
  • These ducks breed quite readily; natural close ground cover, hollow log, ground-level box or a raised box may be used for nesting.
  • Hybridisation with Anas castanea - Chestnut teal is likely if they are kept in the same pen. is likely if they are kept in the same pen.

(B29, B30, B94, B139)

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

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 42-44cm (B26).
Adult weight General --
Male 395-670g average 507g (B3); mean 1.1 lbs. (B8).
Female 350-602g average 474g (B3); mean 1.0 lbs. (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Adult Bill Male Blackish-grey (B3, B5, B25)
Variations (If present) --
Eyes (Iris) Male Bright crimson red (B3, B5, B8, B25)
Variations(If present) Red, less bright than in male (B3, B25)
Juvenile Bill Blackish-grey (B3, B5, B25).
Eyes (Iris) Red, less bright than adult males (B25).

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Adult Male Blackish-grey (B3, B5, B25, B26).
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Blackish-grey (B3, B5, B25).

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Adult Male Crown and hindneck blackish-brown with paler speckling, sides of head, neck whitish with black speckling, chin and throat whitish, upperparts and underparts dark brown with greyish-buff margins, tail, uppertail coverts and rump dark brown. Wings dark grey brown, primaries darker brown, greater coverts white-tipped, secondaries green-glossed black, white-tipped (B3, B5, B25, B26).
Variations (If present) Female:- Similar to male but paler (B3, B8, B25).
Juvenile Similar to adults but paler, particularly on head, with decreased contrast of darker crown. (B3, B25, B26)

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts dark brown, underparts white, face dull pink-buff, with two dark stripes (through eye and below) (B5).
Bill: Blackish-grey (B5).
Feet: Blackish-grey (B5).

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Reproductive Season

Time of year Irregular, particularly August to December but may be over much of the year when water levels suitable (B1, B5).
No. of Clutches Variable, sometimes second clutch (B8).

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Nest placement and structure

In tree holes, rocky crevices, rabbit burrows and on the ground; slight depression with vegetable material and considerable lining of down (B1, B5, B8).

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 7-8 (B1, B3).
Range 7-9 (B8); 8-10 (B7); 4-14, more with dump-nesting (B1, B3).
Egg Description Cream or cream-white (B3, B8); size: 49 x 36mm, weight: 35g (B3).

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24-26 days, possibly up to 31 days (B8); 24-25 days (B3, B7); 24-26 days (B26); about 26 days (B1).

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46-66 days (B8); about 8 weeks (B1).

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Sexual Maturity

Males One year old (B1). Pairing may begin as early as 4-6 months old (B8).
Females One year old (B1). Pairing may begin as early as 4-6 months old (B8).

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Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dabble and mud-filter in shallows, up-end, also pick up seeds and insects and strip seeds from plants near water (B1, B3, B25, B26).
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By female (B8).
Incubation By female (B3, B8).
Newly-hatched Tended by both parents and may be cared for by male alone if female starts second clutch (B3, B8, B25).

Sometimes remain with parents for several weeks after fledging (B8).

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Usually found in flocks, sometimes very large (B8).
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Pair bonds mainly durable and life-long. Courtship in autumn and winter, before breeding after winter rains, in southern Australian tablelands. In interior areas sexual display initiated by rains. Male may consort temporarily with another female while his mate is incubating (B3, B8).

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Predation in Wild

Water rats, falcons, harriers and kites take ducklings (B8).

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Activity Patterns

Often perch or loaf on banks, also commonly perch on branches over water and on logs, rocks and stumps (B5, B8). Highly mobile: rapidly colonise newly flooded areas (B3, B8, B26).
Circadian --

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Natural Diet


Seeds and vegetative parts of aquatic and shoreline vegetation, grasses, sedges, also insects, insect larvae, molluscs, crustaceans (B1, B3, B26).

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)


Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Kai and Aru islands, New Guinea, Solomon Islands (B1, B8, B19).

Movements: much wandering in dry season; in drought large numbers may move to deep highland lakes and coastal estuaries where normally only small population (B1, B8, B26).

Occasional and Accidental

Wander to Lord Howe Island, Macquaire Island, New Caledonia (B19).



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Marshes, lakes; almost any area with shallow water - fresh, brackish or saline - , making good use of temporary waters (B1, B3, B19, B25, B26).

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Intraspecific variation

Frequently considered a subspecies of Anas gibberifrons - Sunda teal, thus Anas gibberifrons gracilis - Australian grey teal/Australasian grey teal, with the combined species being commonly described as the Grey Teal (B1, B8) and the species sometimes being given the name Anas gracilis (B8).

Anas gracilis is slightly larger and paler than Anas gibberifrons - Sunda teal.

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Not globally threatened, numerous in Australia and expanding population in New Zealand (B1).

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats Hunting pressure (B1, B8).

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Captive Populations

Scarce in collections (B8).

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