Green Winged Teal

Green Wing Teal, Vancouver Island, BC
Green Wing Teal, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Robert Logan

The Pacific Northwest has a large population of migrating Green Winged Teal that arrives in the spring. The extreme south coast has a few of them that stay year-round. The green-winged teal is a small dabbling duck with a green wing patch. Males are mostly gray, with a vertical white bar in front of each wing, and have a reddish head with a broad green patch behind each eye. Males in non-breeding plumage and immature young resemble females. Females are mostly brown, with a buff stripe on each side of the tail. Small bill and pale under tail coverts.

Green-winged teal can be found around rivers, marshes, and coastal estuaries. The Green-Wing Teal’s diet is quite varied, they will feed on insects and aquatic vegetation. An opportunistic feeder, the Green-winged adjusts its diet as different foods become available. Vegetation is eaten mostly in the fall and winter, consisting mainly of seeds of grasses, sedge’s and shoots of water plants,  they will occasionally feed on agricultural crops after the fields have been harvested. During the breeding season, they feed on a variety of animal matter like insects, larvae, and fish eggs. A dabbler, the green-winged will feed by tipping their bodies to let them pick at the bottom or gather insects by skimming the water with its bill. The green-winged will also feed along mudflats, foraging for insects and mollusks.

Green Wing Teal, Vancouver Island, BC
Green Wing Teal, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Robert Logan

When nesting, the female will use her feet to excavate a depression in the ground where she will begin to lay her eggs, she will cover each egg with vegetation until her last egg is laid, she then covers the nest with down, she will only then start incubating the eggs, this is so that all the birds hatch at the same time.

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