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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Jun 23, 2010

Blue winged Teal

Blue Winged Teal Pair
What I really wasn't prepared for when I was searching the internet for information on this particular bird, is the fact that ducks are not always called ducks by name.  So it took me a while longer than usual to identify him, which meant several different searches and a lot of learning on my part, which is always a good thing.  Despite it's name, however, this Blue-Winged Teal is still a duck.

Blue Winged Teal on pond
 The first time I saw the Blue-Winged Teal, I only saw the male.  He was out in the middle of the pond and it was the white, crescent like patch on his cheek that got my attention .  If I had seen the female first, I never would have noticed that there was a different duck on the pond, because she would definitely pass for a Mallard female at a distance, especially to someone who wears glasses like myself.  It is always helpful, when you are birdwatching if a species pair, like the Blue-Winged Teal, is seen together, because it allows you to mark the differences in the coloring and size between one species of bird and another, especially if they appear alike.

Blue Winged Teal male

Although the Blue-Winged Teal is quite plain at first sight, when compared to a Mallard male or even a Golden Eye duck, he is still quite a beautiful bird as you can see above.  He is a small duck, about the size of a Golden Eye in fact, but size alone does not make him stand out.  His head is bluish gray and his bill is black,  as is his tail, which also has a white patch that shows clearly when he turns sideways.  But the rest of him is spotted, brown on brown just like a leopard. This might make you wonder why he is called a Blue-Winged Teal.  Well, as is often true with birds of many species, his true color isn't revealed until he spreads his wings.   Blue isn't the only color displayed there, but it is emphasized, taking up a large portion of his wings.  This of course makes for a delightful surprise when displayed.

Blue Winged Teal and Golden Eye
ducks in the water

The female of this species lacks the dark head and black tail, but she does have a discreet white patch around her bill.  Her only color is on the wing, the same the male.  Both male and female have yellow legs which distinguishes them from other Teals.  Blue-Winged Teals are identified as dabbling ducks.  They do not submerge themselves fully when they feed  underwater, nor do they swim underwater for any distance like the Lesser Scaub does for example.

Blue Winged Teal and Golden Eyed male
I love the picture on the right, which shows a nice contrast between the Golden Eye male and the Blue winged Teal.  Unfortunately, as much as I would like to, I have no pictures to show you the differences between a female Mallard and that of a Blue-Winged Teal, but that is always possible for the future.

If you love ducks, as many people do, and wish to learn more, or to see pictures of this duck in flight just follow the links below:


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