Sunday Duck o’ the Week

May 17, 2020 • 7:45 am

John Avise has favored us with yet another duck as we learn how to recognize each North American species of this most fantastic of birds. John’s photos and ID hint (indented) are below, and the ID, a Duck Fact, and a range map are below the fold.

Last week’s “Duck O’ the Day”, the Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca), was named for its green speculum (a colorful patch of secondary feathers near the wing’s trailing edge).  This week’s duck is another Teal, but this species has a large blue patch on the forewing (often most visible in flight for both hens and drakes).  Can you guess the name of this species?

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

ID:  Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)

A white “crescent-moon” on the blue-gray head of the drake is a great field-mark for this diminutive duck.  When swimming with wings folded, hens of all the Teal species look very similar and are often best told by the male company they keep.  Blue-winged Teal breed across much of North America and winter in Central America and far-southern portions of the United States.  These photos were taken in Southern California.

Range map (from the Cornell site:


6 thoughts on “Sunday Duck o’ the Week

  1. Like the Cheetah on land, the teal is known to be fast in the air. They also tend to migrate slightly earlier than other ducks.

  2. Lovely bird. The speculum here looks greener than blue. Could it be just the angle of incidence?

    1. The speculum is green. It’s only the inner forewing that’s blue.

      Sadly, this handsome species has become quite uncommon in spring here in Ottawa. Perhaps because it was “duck of the day” I was lucky enough to see a pair today. They are still common here in fall, but males at that time are in so-called “eclipse plumage”, which resembles the female’s: rather non-descript.

  3. These are some beautiful ducks, once again.

    I appreciate all your contributions, John, even if I don’t always get the chance to sign on to comment and thank you. Same goes for the other contributors. Wish I had a smidgen of their talent (and yes, photo equipment).

    I’m always in wonderment at nature’s vast array of magnificent critters, some impossible to fathom in colour, form ad quirkiness, and some seemingly lowly in appearance but brought to dizzying detail by the other photographers who are into macro work.

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