Green-winged Teal, Anas carolinensis
Green-winged Teals can be found in a variety of wetland habitats, including marshes, ponds, shallow lakes, and flooded fields. They have a wide distribution across North America, with breeding populations in the northern regions of the continent, including Alaska, Canada, and parts of the northern United States. They migrate to wintering grounds in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Green-winged Teals are dabbling ducks that primarily feed on plant material. They graze on aquatic vegetation, seeds, and grasses found in and around wetland habitats. They also feed on insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and small aquatic invertebrates. They forage by tipping their heads underwater or upending their bodies, reaching for food near the water’s surface.
Green-winged Teals are known for their agility and swift flight. They can take off quickly and maneuver through dense vegetation with ease.
One interesting behavior of Green-winged Teals is their courtship display. Males perform a variety of behaviors, including head-bobbing, neck-stretching, and vocalizations, to attract females. They produce a series of whistling or chattering calls during courtship and for communication with other ducks.
During the breeding season, Green-winged Teals nest in grassy areas near wetlands. The female selects a nest site on the ground, typically concealed among vegetation or in the vicinity of water. The nests are shallow depressions lined with plant material and down feathers. They are well-hidden to minimize the risk of predation.
The female Green-winged Teal lays a clutch of 8-12 creamy white to pale greenish eggs. Incubation lasts for about 21-23 days and is primarily undertaken by the female. Once the eggs hatch, the precocial ducklings are led by the female to nearby water, where they can swim and forage for food. The female provides guidance and protection to the young until they become independent. Green-winged Teal ducklings fledge within 35-40 days after hatching. The timing may vary depending on environmental conditions and food availability.
During the non-breeding season, they undertake long-distance migrations, moving to warmer regions in the southern parts of their range. They often form large flocks during migration and winter, congregating with other waterfowl species. They can be found in a variety of wetland habitats during winter, including marshes, ponds, and coastal areas.