The Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca carolinensis) is North America’s smallest dabbling duck and taken by hunters second only to the Mallard. Click on photos for full sized images.
Luckily for them, even though they nest on the ground, they usually breed far from human habitation, under heavy vegetative cover.
It appears that most of the Green-winged Teal have already paired up in California. Here is a photo of one of the females I encountered at Delevan National Wildlife Refuge.
I love ducks of all kinds but I think the Green-winged Teal drake is one of the most handsome ducks around.
And there are a lot of pluses to being a Green-winged Teal drake. They form a monogamous relationship with a female each breeding season, but attempt (and sometimes succeed at) extra-pair copulations with other females.
The female selects the nest site with the male following her as she makes up her mind on the location, then she constructs the nest with no help from him whatsoever.
Once the female begins incubation, the drake is outta there! He deserts his mate requiring her to do all the incubation and duckling rearing on her own.
Of course this leaves him free to preen.
I never realized that their eyelids were beige colored.
They are a lot of fun to watch. The head bobbing and other courtship displays on their wintering grounds are very entertaining but so is just watching these little guys preening.
It certainly looks like he’s pretty proud of himself. It’s a pretty good life, as long as you don’t get shot!
Larry Jordan was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Larry wanted to share his passion for birds and conservation and hatched The Birder's Report in September of 2007. His recent focus is on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California where he also monitors several bluebird trails. He is a BirdLife Species Champion and contributes to several other conservation efforts, being the webmaster for Wintu Audubon Society and the habitat manager for the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network. He is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with a Wildlife Conservation Stamp.
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