The Green-winged Teal, North America’s Smallest Dabbling Duck
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!