Sunday Duck o’ the Day

May 10, 2020 • 8:00 am

John Avise has once again favored us with a Mystery Species of Duck. Guess the species! Below the fold you’ll see the answer, some interesting facts about this duck, and a range map.


Click “read more” to see the ID, information, and a range map:

Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)

Teal (of which there are several species) are small dabbling ducks that often show striking sexual dimorphism, with the breeding drakes sporting colorful plumages and the hens being far more somber and camouflaged.  In North America, Green-winged Teal breed across Canada and Alaska and winter across most of the lower-48.   A vertical white bar on the sideof the drake is a good field-mark.  Interestingly, drakes of a related Eurasian subspecies (which some, but not all, ornithologists think merits status as a separate species) display a horizontal rather than vertical white sidebar (see photo).   I took all of these pictures in Southern California, where the North American race of this species is a common winter resident whereas the Eurasian individual was a rare

And a range map from the Cornell site:


11 thoughts on “Sunday Duck o’ the Day

  1. I guessed the Teal part easily enough anyway!
    Very handsome birds. Thank you for these posts, I look forward to learning something special on Sunday mornings.

  2. I guessed the common European teal. Since it was called a mystery duck I thought it must have been a European vagrant, but I see they occur in North America too.

  3. He almost doesn’t want you to know who he is. The green on the wing is pretty minimal. Anyway, a real charmer of the duck family.

  4. The last picture is indeed a Eurasian Teal, not the american Green-winged Teal. It lacks the white vertical bar on the chest while it shows white along the folded wing. The other ones are Green-winged Teal. These two used to be lumped in a single species, but nowadays they are often treated as distinct species.

  5. In the Common (Eurasian) Teal, note also the thin white line that goes from the green face patch to the base of the bill, which North American Green-winged Teal lacks.

    Birding trivia: the American Ornithological Society (AOS), which decides taxonomic questions for birds found in North America and which everyone on this continent follows, still views the two forms as part of the same species, whereas the British Ornithologists Union (BOU), which does the same for UK birds, has classified them as separate species. Fortunately this kind of disagreement between ornithological bodies is rare. In fact, I’m not aware of any other examples.

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