Cinnamon Teal, Spatula cyanoptera
Cinnamon Teals inhabit a range of freshwater habitats, including shallow marshes, ponds, lakes, and wetlands. They can be found in both lowland and highland areas. Their world range extends from the western parts of North America, including the United States, Mexico, and Central America, to parts of South America, such as Chile, Argentina, and Peru.
The Cinnamon Teal male has a striking cinnamon-red head and neck, a bright red eye, a dark chestnut body, and sky-blue forewings. The female and non-breeding male have a mottled brown plumage, which provides excellent camouflage.
These ducks are dabbling ducks, meaning they feed by tipping their heads underwater and grazing on aquatic vegetation, insects, seeds, and small invertebrates. Cinnamon Teals primarily forage in shallow water, often in dense vegetation, using their bill to filter out food from the water.
During the breeding season, Cinnamon Teals form pairs. The female selects the nest site, which is usually located on the ground, concealed in dense vegetation near water. The nest is a shallow depression lined with plant material and down feathers.
Cinnamon Teals typically lay around 6-12 eggs, with an average of 8-9 eggs per clutch. The eggs are pale green or buff-colored. The female incubates the eggs for about 21-24 days. During this period, the male may leave to molt and regrow its flight feathers.
Once the eggs hatch, the female leads the ducklings to water, often within a day or two of hatching. The ducklings are precocial, which means they are relatively mature and mobile soon after hatching. The female provides protection and guidance, while the ducklings feed themselves by foraging for insects, small invertebrates, and plant matter. The young Cinnamon Teals fledge, or acquire the ability to fly, around 40-50 days after hatching. They become independent from their parents but may remain together in family groups for some time.
While some individuals are non-migratory and stay in their breeding range year-round, others undertake seasonal migrations, moving to warmer areas during winter. During the winter, Cinnamon Teals can be found in a variety of habitats such as coastal estuaries, brackish marshes, and shallow wetlands. They may also use rice fields or agricultural areas with suitable water sources.