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Versicolor teal (Silver teal)

Spatula versicolor (Anas versicolor)

Versicolortaling / Versicolor ente / Sarcelle versicolor


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


The silver teal or versicolor teal is a species of dabbling duck. It breeds in South America. The silver teal's range includes southern Bolivia, southern Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands, and the Falkland Islands. The southernmost birds migrate to southern Brazil in the winter.

Silver teals are on the whole placid ducks but may be protective of eggs, young and females.

They have a black cap that extends below the eyes, and a bluish bill with a yellow tip. They also have a green speculum with a white border.


Between April and June they prefer reed beds and will lay 6 to 10 creamy-pink eggs. As with swans and geese, both parents will rear the ducklings. A pair may bond long term. It lives on fresh water in small groups, and feeds primarily on vegetable matter such as seeds and aquatic plants.


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 appears to be stable, and hence the species does not 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).



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).


The Puna teal was previously regarded as a subspecies of this bird. Currently, there are two subspecies:

  • S. versicolor versicolor, northern silver teal, located in Paraguay, southern Bolivia, and southern Brazil.
  • S. versicolor fretensis, southern silver teal, located in southern Chile, Argentina, and the Falkland Islands.
Captive breeding management

By Dan Cowell

Nearly identical to male, the female is slightly duller and with the exeption of the Puna, the salmon color on the bill is not has large as drakes. 
Their breeding season in the wild is from October to January; in captivity it is from April to June. They are sexually mature the first year, but won't often breed until they are two. Silver teals will make their nest under thick cover near water, but will accept open-fronted nest boxes that are concealed. 
The 8 to 10 eggs will hatch after 25 days. They will do well in a mixed collection, but will need some protection during the winter.



Above: an adult pair of Versicolor teal




Above: adult drake Versicolor teal



Above: adult female Versicolor teal



Above: adult drake Versicolor teal

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