Teal - Anas crecca


The smallest dabbling duck in Europe.

Typically squat shaped, underlined by its short neck (which is why the hunters and people who live on the marshes called it the "Little Lump").

In nuptial dress, the drake is easy to recognise by its rust coloured head, with a large green dark patch, shaped like a comma, round its eye and for it velvet black under-tail, marked on each side by two evident cream coloured patches.

Apart from by her size, the duck can be recognised by her brilliant green speculum edged with black . Call-note is a short, melancholic whistle.

Like all ducks, the Teal is territorial during the breeding season but very gregarious otherwise. In spite of its relatively short wings, ducks are excellent fliers; the agility with which the Teal manages to take off almost vertically in flight from the water is amazing, and the speed and synchrony with which flocks of Teal turn and veer in the air is equally surprising.

The Teal mainly feeds at night, filtering the water with its bill which is equipped with fine blades; it retains smaller sized plant material and animals than the other ducks do. In Italy the Teal is mainly migratory and over-wintering. Unlike the Garganey, the post-nuptial is longer than the pre-nuptial migration and begins in August.

Small groups over-winter in the protected areas of northern Tuscany.