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Hottentot teal

Spatula hottentota (Anas hottentota)

Hottentottaling / Hottentoten ente / Sarcelle hottentote


Spatula hottentota (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Anas.


The Hottentot teal is a species of dabbling duck. It is migratory resident in eastern and southern Africa, from Sudan and Ethiopia west to Niger and Nigeria and south to South Africa and Namibia. In west Africa and Madagascar it is sedentary. The Hottentot Teal breed year round, depending on rainfall, and stay in small groups or pairs. They build nests above water in tree stumps and use vegetation. Ducklings leave the nest soon after hatching, and the mother's parenting is limited to providing protection from predators and leading young to feeding areas. This species is omnivorous and prefers smaller shallow bodies of water.


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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very 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).


Habitat degradation (e.g. wetland conversion by commercial and subsistence agriculture in South Africa) (Hockey, et al. 2005) is the main threat to this species, so the protection of wetlands and waterside vegetation (also deliberately burnt in South Africa) (Hockey, et al. 2005) is necessary to maintain populations (Kear 2005b). This species is hunted (e.g. it is hunted for local consumption and trade at Lake Chilwa, Malawi) (Bhima 2006), and although hunting at current levels does not threaten the species (del Hoyo, et al. 1992, Scott and Rose 1996, Kear 2005b), a control of hunting practices may be necessary in the future to maintain population sizes at current levels (del Hoyo, et al.1992, Kear 2005b).



Usually placed in Anas like most dabbling ducks, it stands well apart from such species as the mallard and together with the shovelers and their relatives forms a "blue-winged" group that may warrant separation as genus Spatula (del Hoyo and Collar 2014).


Captive breeding management

By Dan Cowell

The Hottentot teal is the smallest species in the genus Anas, and maybe even the smallest species of all waterfowl. Found throughout much of eastern and southern Africa and Madagascar, they are often seen in captivity and make charming aviary birds.
The sexes are very similar. The drakes have a black head and nape and buff cheeks and throat; the back is blackish-brown with the feathers edged with buff. The breast is brown spotted with black, the underparts are mottled buff with no markings on the flanks and they have a green wing speculum. The bill is blue, with a black streak on top and the legs and feet are gray. Hens are much lighter underneath, the flanks are mottled and they maybe slightly smaller in size.
In warmer climates, Hottentot Teal may lay several clutchs of 5 to 8 eggs a year. They are mostly ground nesters, but will occasionally use ground boxes. Incubation lasts about 21 to 23 days and the duckilngs are tiny and rather fragile. They grow quickly and are able to fly at about 5 weeks of age.
Due to their extremely small size, the netting of the aviary needs to be much smaller than what is used for other ducks. It is possible for them to squeeze through very tight places and are vunerable to predators when free. Being from Africa, they do need shelter from the cold temperatures. They get along very well in mixed collections, but do need to kept with non-aggressive species. This teal will often become very tame and not as skittish as other teal in aviaries.



Above: adult Hottentot teal, male



Above: adult Hottentot teal, male



Above: adult Hottentot teal, male



Above: adult Hottentot teal, male



Above: adult Hottentot teal, male



Above: adult Hottentot teal, male



Above: adult Hottentot teals



Above: adult Hottentot teals



Above: female Hottentot teal with ducklings



Above: adult Hottentot teal, male



Above: adult Hottentot teal, male



Above: adult Hottentot teal, male



Above: adult Hottentot teal, female


Above: Hottentot ducklings being articifially reared

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