Blue Winged Teal
Image: Public Domain
Description: The Blue-Winged Teal is one of the smallest and fastest flying ducks of North America. Measuring about 15 inches in length, the drake (male) has a blue-gray head with a white, crescent shaped marking in front of the bill. The bill is dark and broad. The underparts are bronze with fine black spots. The wings and back are dark. The sky-blue speculums (wing feathers) are difficult to see when the bird is in the water, but are conspicuous in flight. Females are brownish, but do have the sky-blue speculums.
Diet: Aquatic invertebrates, seeds, and plants.
Range: The Blue-Winged Teal breeds from central Alaska throughout sub-Arctic Canada and throughout the western and central portions of the United States (except for the desert southwest). It also breeds in parts of then northeastern United States and along the Atlantic coast. High breeding densities occur in the prairie pothole region of the Dakotas. The Blue-Winged Teal can be found throughout the United States during migration, and winters in the southern United States. Large flocks of teals are easily found in Florida during the winter months.
Habitat: Shallow ponds, marshes and lagoons.
Status: The Blue-Winged Teal is very common. It may be the populous duck in North America behind the Mallard.