Sometimes called the Cape Wigeon (although they are
not closely related to the Wigeons) in it's native
Africa, this teal often seen in American collections
and are easy to keep and breed. Like most tropical
ducks, the Cape Teal males do not undergo an eclipse
period, and keep their breeding plumage year-round.
They are attractive ducks, that are mostly gray with
dark brown spots and light spotted underparts. The
sexes are similar, although the males are larger and
may have a slightly darker bill than the females.
The Cape Teal begin laying in May and June in
captivity and prefer to nest in clumps of thick grass
and other vegetation. They will also use nesting boxes
(I will have a sheet on building nest boxes soon).
Clutches number from 7 to 9 cream-colored eggs with
incubation lasting about 25-26 days. The ducklings,
like all teal species, are delicate and small. If you
are to allow the hen to raise her own young, make sure
the aviary is escape and predator proof.
Like most other captive Teal, the aviaries do not need
to be very large, as long as there is plenty of cover
for the hens to nest. A 200 square foot aviary that is
about 6 feet high (I recommend covered pens, as
opposed to free-ranging pinioned ducks) would work
great for a few pairs of small teal. If building a
pond is out of the question, no need to worry, as
these teal will gladly use large watering tubs that
are filled with clean water to bathe and breed.
This teal is an excellent choice for keeping in a
mixed collection. They are not bothersome to other
ducks and not small enough to be bullied by larger
species. Since they are a tropical species, a shelter
is needed during the Winter. I keep plenty of dry
straw down and also use heat lamps in a shelter that
is only opened to the south and they have made it
through some pretty harsh January nights here in
Missouri. I also provide them a source of open water
during the winter that is warmed by the heat lamps.
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Cape Teal Pair