Sunday Duck o’ the Day

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:



  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 10, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink


  2. Sue B
    Posted May 10, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    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.

  3. Posted May 10, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Wow! That is one handsome duck! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted May 10, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    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.

  5. Terry L Pedersen
    Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Thank you, gorgeous birds

  6. rickflick
    Posted May 10, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    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.

  7. Steve Gerrard
    Posted May 10, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Great in-flight shot, and a good looking duck.

  8. Mark R.
    Posted May 10, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was a teal, so got that part right. Very pretty drakes.

  9. Mathieu Siol
    Posted May 10, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    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.

  10. Paul Matthews
    Posted May 10, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    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.

  11. Posted May 10, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, John! Your talent shines through… great work.

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