Blue-winged Teal

The Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) is a small surface duck characterized by a slender body and a long beak.

During the courtship period, drakes display a reddish brown plumage with small darker spots, black under tail coverts, white marks on the flanks, and a dark greyish blue head with a wide pure white crescent in front of each eye. From July to October, drakes have feathers similar to the females’ and look a lot like cinnamon teals. Females and juveniles have brown speckles, a black beak, and yellowish feet. Both sexes have a greenish black speculum with a wide pale blue stripe on the superior part of the wings.

This duck species can be found from west to east on the North American continent. During winter, it can migrate as far as southern Peru. It is a breed of duck that flees from North America's arid climate and migrates sooner than its cousins to find warmth. It leaves between the end of August and mid-October and comes back only in April or May.

Just like the green-winged teal, the blue-winged teal, likes to nest close to shallow water bodies (marshes, ponds, and exposed lakes) that contain a lot of vegetation. Concerning the nesting, it likes prairies and country parks usually near water. Pair formation starts during winter and goes on during spring migration. The bowl-shaped nest is located on the ground and well hidden by grass. The female lays 9 to 13 eggs that are sat on on for 23 to 24 days. The young blue-winged teals are precocial and leave the nest less than one day after the hatching to search immediately for food. The female continues to protect and take care of them for several weeks. The surface blue-winged teal duck eats grass, aquatic plant seeds, larva insects, invertebrates, and molluscs. During migration, seeds are the main element of its diet.