About 12.5-16 inches (31-40 cm) in length, with a wingspan of
22-24 inches (55-60 cm), this is the smallest of the river, or
dabbling, ducks (Forbush and May, 1955). The males' head is brown
with a metallic green patch from the eye back to the crest. The
upper parts, including the tail, are dark brown; the wing
features a bright green speculum that may appear violet at
certain angles; it is outlined in buffy brown and black. The
underparts are white. The female is dark brown above, with the
breast and flanks lighter; an iridescent speculum is similar to
that of the male (Ligon, 1961).
Anas crecca has a diverse habitat due to its tremendous
range; however, it seems to prefer small and shallow permanent
ponds in the vicinity of woodlands with dense nesting foliage
nearby (Johnsgard, 1978). Drainage ditches of the Rio Grande
Valley as well as Bosque del Apache Refuge are nearby El Paso
Region sites (Ligon, 1961).
The carolinensis group of this species is found primarily
in North America from western and northern Alaska eastward
through the northern Yukon, northwestern and southern Mackenzie,
southern Keewatin, northeastern Manitoba, northern Ontario,
northern Quebec, north-central Labrador, and Newfoundland south
to central Oregon, northern Nevada, northern Utah, Colorado,
central South Dakota, southern Minnesota, southern Ontario,
southern Quebec, northern Maine, and Nova Scotia. This group
winters in the southern portions of its breeding range as well as
south to Baja California, central Mexico, the Gulf Coast,
southern Florida, and the Bahamas and Hawaii (American
Ornithologists' Union, 1983).
A. crecca eats a variety of fairly small plant seeds, as
well as the stems and leafy parts of pondweeds and the
reproductive bodies of muskgrass. Occasionally small
invertebrates, snails, and amphipods are also consumed
(Johnsgard, 1978). They will also eat grain residues in flooded
fields when available (Leopold, et al., 1981).
The nests of this species are hidden very well in dense
vegetation that allows minimal light penetration. The typical
clutch is 8-10 eggs laid one per day. While the female is
incubating the eggs for 21-23 days, the male has already left to
molt. Due to fast growth, the young fledge at 35 days (Johnsgard,
1978). The eggs are buffy white in color (Ligon, 1961).
The Green-winged Teal is also known as the Green-wing and the Mud
Teal. It is among the fastest fliers of the game-birds; it is
also capable of quick turns. A good swimmer, it is also an
excellent diver, though it rarely dives except to elude an enemy.
It is also very active on its feet, walking and running well,
even over fairly long distances. When frightened, it is able to
rise from the water into direct flight. A tame species, it has
been seen eating with barnyard ducks (Forbush and May, 1955).
American Ornithologists' Union. 1983. Check-list of North
American birds, 6th ed. Allen Press, Lawrence, 877 pp.
Forbush, E.H., and J.B. May. 1955. A natural history of American
birds of eastern and central North America. Bramhall House, New
York, 552 pp.
Johnsgard, P.A. 1978. Ducks, geese, and swans of the world.
University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 404 pp.
Leopold, A.S., R.J. Gutierrez, M.T. Bronson. 1981. North American
game birds and mammals. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 198
Ligon, J.S. 1961. New Mexico birds and where to find them. The
University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 360 pp.
Mary Kirschenbaum, July 1996; A. H. Harris, 20 February 2000.