Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman

Common teal

Anas crecca

Wintertaling / Krickente / Sarcelle d'Hiver

 

The Common teal (Anas crecca) was split by Sangster et al. (2001) into Anas crecca and Anas carolinensis. Nowadays, both populations are concidered to be one full species. The male of carolinensis differs from nominate male in its vertical white breast-side line, lack of white horizontal scapular stripe, and lack of narrow buff supercilium (above broad green “eyestripe”); various other very minor differences cannot be scored (plumage characters capped at three), differences in measurements do not exist, behavioural differences are matters of frequency rather than type, and genetic evidence, while suggesting paraphyly involving A. flavirostris, indicates that hybridization is relatively widespread in Beringia (possible score for broad hybrid zone), leaving carolinensis extremely close to species status. Aleutian race nimia judged very weak and here treated as a synonym of nominate crecca. Two subspecies recognized.

 

Subspecies and Distribution

  • A. c. crecca Linnaeus, 1758 – Eurasian Teal – breeds in most of N & C Palearctic, also Aleutian Is; winters in C & S Eurasia and Africa.
  • A. c. carolinensis J. F. Gmelin, 1789 – Green-winged Teal – breeds in most of N Nearctic; winters in SW Canada and most of USA S to Mexico and West Indies.

The Eurasian teal (Anas crecca crecca) is a common and widespread duck which breeds in temperate Eurasia and migratessouth in winter. The Common teal is often called simply the teal due to being the only one of these small dabbling ducks in much of its range. The bird gives its name to the blue-green colour teal. It is a highly gregarious duck outside the breeding season and can form large flocks. It is commonly found in sheltered wetlands and feeds on seeds and aquatic invertebrates.

 

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Above: adult pair of Eurasian teals, Anas crecca crecca, female in front. 

 

The Eurasian teal belongs to the "true" teals, a group of small Anas dabbling ducks closely related to the mallard (A. platyrhynchos) and its relatives; that latter group in fact seems to have evolved from a true teal. It forms a superspecies with the green-winged teal and the speckled teal (A. flavirostris). A proposed subspeciesA. c. nimia of the Aleutian Islands, differs only in slightly larger size; it is probably not distinct.

 

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern (IUCN, 2012).

 

This species is threatened by lowland habitat loss and degradation (e.g. through wetland drainage) (Musil 2006) and by upland habitat loss due to afforestation and other land-use changes (Kear 2005b). The species suffers mortality as a result of lead shot ingestion (France) (Mondain-Monval et al. 2002) and from poisoning by white phosphorous ingestion (from firearms) in Alaska (Steele et al. 1997). It is also intensively hunted in its winter quarters (del Hoyo et al. 1992). The species is threatened by disturbance from human recreational activities (Pease et al. 2005), hunting (Bregnballe et al. 2004) and construction work (UK) (Burton et al. 2002). The species is susceptible to avian botulism (Rocke 2006) and avian influenza (Melville and Shortridge 2006, Gaidet et al. 2007) so may be threatened by future outbreaks of these diseases. The species is hunted for sport in North America (Baldassarre and Bolen 1994, Padding et al. 2006), Denmark (Bregnballe et al. 2006), France (Mondain-Monval et al. 2006) and Italy (Sorrenti et al. 2006), and is hunted commercially and recreationally in Iran (Balmaki and Barati 2006). The eggs of this species were (and possibly still are) harvested in Iceland (Gudmundsson 1979).

 

More information: 

 

Captive breeding management of Common teals

By Dan Cowell, USA

The green-wing is one of the easiest ducks to breed in captivity. The breeding season begins in early May and the hens look to build nests in stands of thick grass or other vegetation, but may also accept boxes. They do not require a large aviary, as long as it is well planted. The clutch sizes range from 6 to 12 cream colored eggs and are incubated for about 23 days. The hens can be allowed to hatch and rear their own young, but due to their small size, the aviary walls need to be covered or made of small wire to prevent escape.


The young grow quickly and are able to fly in about a month and a half. The immatures resemble the hen, but their underparts are spotted brown. Males will recieve their adult plumage and will breed their first year. The males are very ornamental and are a beautiful addition to a small pond or aviary. They are docile and sometimes bullied by larger species, so keep with species that are not very aggressive. They are winter hardy and will survive very cold weather with a good shelter. 

 

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Above: adult male Eurasian teal, Anas crecca crecca

 

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Above: adult male Eurasian teal, Anas crecca crecca

 

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Above: adult male Eurasian teal, Anas crecca crecca

 

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Above: Adult males American green-winged teals, Anas crecca carolinensis

 

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Above: Adult male American green-winged teal, Anas crecca carolinensis

 

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Above: adult male American green-winged teal, Anas crecca carolinensis

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