Harteman Wildfowl Aviaries | educating since 1998

American green-winged teal (American common teal)

Anas (crecca) carolinensis

Amerikaanse wintertaling / Krickente / Sarcelle d'Hiver


The green-winged teal (Anas carolinensis or Anas crecca carolinensis) is a common and widespread duck that breeds in the northern areas of North America except on the Aleutian Islands.


The North American green-winged teal (A. carolinensis) was formerly (and sometimes is still) considered a subspecies of the Common teal, A. crecca. Although Anas crecca was split by Sangster et al. (2001) into A. crecca and A. carolinensis and this treatment was followed in BirdLife International (2004), AOU (1998) do not adopt this treatment.


This 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 subspecies, A. c. nimia of the Aleutian Islands, differs only in slightly larger size; it is probably not distinct.

Whether the Eurasian and green-winged teals are to be treated as one or two species is still being reviewed by the AOU, while the IUCN and BirdLife International separate them nowadays. Despite the almost identical and highly apomorphic nuptial plumage of their males, which continues to puzzle scientists, they seem well distinct species, as indicated by a wealth of behavioural, morphological and molecular data.


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 informationan: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22729717/0 


Captive breeding

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.

One of my all time favorite ducks, I recommend these to any beginner to this hobby. The males are very ornamental and are a beautiful addition to a small pond or aviary. They are doclie and sometimes bullied by larger species, so keep with species that are not very aggressive. Since they are a native migratory bird, permits are needed to keep this species and are available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
They are winter hardy and will survive very cold weather with a good shelter. A pond is not necessary, but provide a tub of clean water that is large enough for the ducks to bathe and breed.



Above: Adult males American green-winged teals



Above: Adult male American green-winged teal



Above: adult male American green-winged teal

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