Very common both in the wild and in captivity, the Blue-winged Teal is known by two subspecies the Atlantic (A. d. orphna) and the Prairie (A. d. discors). Both subspecies are very similar to one another and probably interbreed. The Atlantic Blue-wing breeds in the tidal marshes along the Atlantic coast from Canada to the Carolinas and winters in the West Indies and South America. However, some birds remain resident year round in the middle section of the range. The Prairie Blue-winged Teal breeds in the central plains of North America, from Canada to New Mexico and Texas. Winters from the Gulf Coast States to northern South America.
The Blue-winged Teal is mostly all brown, with males having a slate-blue head with a white crescent in front of the eye. The speculum is metallic green below the light blue forewing for which this species is named. Hens resemble Cinnamon Teal hens, but lighter. The bill is black; legs and feet are yellow.
This small duck is fairly easy to breed and keep in
aviaries. The hens begin to build nests close to a
water source in thick cover in late May. Clutches
consists of between 7 and 10 eggs and are incubated
for 24 days. Some hens will use a ground box if
provided. They fledge at six weeks and are able to
breed their first year.
This species is very similar to the Cinnamon Teal
(Anas cyanoptera) and will cross with this
species if care is not taken to keep the two separate
(mainly extra hens and drakes). Not has hardy as other
North American species, shelter must provided during
the Winter months. Some birds may become quite tame,
while others will remain shy and wary, always hiding
in the cover. Larger species may tend to pick on this
species, so house only with species of similar size.
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Blue wing Drake
Blue wing Hen
Blue wing Hen and ducklings
Blue wing Pair