Migrants – Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teals are the smallest dabbling ducks in North America. They have small bills and a short neck. This adds to their petite look. Their breeding range is Canada and the very northern US. There is also a small breeding area here in northeastern Massachusetts so we see them in the summer. But they are only seen in large numbers as they migrate through our area to the southern US for the winter. They do winter along the southern New England coast so we can occasionally see them on the northern coast in the winter.

Breeding males have a chestnut colored head with a broad green streak that runs from the eyes back down the neck. There’s also a white vertical stripe on their shoulder. They get their name from the green patch on the speculum of the wing. It is usually hard to see unless they are flying but all of these markings are visible on this male that was still in breeding plumage.

These next photos are of a small flock that would periodically take a short flight to hop from one area to another in the pool. The chocolate and green speculum with cream colored borders stands out as they fly. The flock was mostly non-breeding males and females so there are no brown and green heads in the photos.

The small size of the Green-winged Teal (about 14 in./36 cm) is evident in this picture as they land near a much larger Mallard (24 in./61 cm).

Many varieties of freshwater and salt water ducks are moving in for the winter. I will be posting lots of photos for the duck lovers who read my posts!

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