The North American Green-winged Teal, Anas crecca carolinensis, is the smallest of the Teal ducks seen in North America. It is yet another member of the Anatidae family and subfamily Anatinae. The male, as usual, has breeding and eclipse plumage and the female is mottled brown and marked in subtle ways to distinguish her from the similarly marked females of the Blue-winged and Cinnamon Teals.
The male pictured above shows the cinnamon brown head with the iridescent green patch behind the eye. This is one of the distinguishing characters for this species. Note that this patch can appear bluish or black depending on the lighting conditions. The white stripe at the shoulder is another character unseen in the other teals. The light colored rump patch and the grey upper body and tail finish the list of distinguishing characters.
The female, pictured here in flight, is less boldly marked. She is grey above and mottled brown along the neck and sides.She has a gray upper tail with light rump patches underneath like the male. Notice the black streak behind her ear which is reminiscent of the male’s flashier ear patch.
In the third photo, there are several Green-winged Teal in flight. Note the iridescent green speculum (shiny spot) on the trailing edge of their wings. This is the character for which they are named. It is present in both males and females. The speculum can appear deep bluish at times due to the way light is reflected off these special feathers. Can you spot the differences between males and females at this point?
Here’s the rest of the flock, how many males and females do you see? Are there any other duck species present?