Teal… More than a Color!

I have admitted before that Teal are some of my favorite ducks. I like them for several different reasons. They are a ton of fun to hunt, beautiful, and delicious! Teal are super fast flyers and can sneak on by you when hunting if you’re not paying attention and ready for them. They are like speedy little ghost ducks! To make them even better, Teal are delicious to eat. They are probably one of the better ducks when it comes to taste in our area. Teal also make for beautiful home decor when mounted by a taxidermist. I currently have a Greenwing and Bluewing mounted in my house. Greenwings are the most common around here, followed by Bluewings and the occasional Cinnomaon Teal. These are the three Teal species we have down here in South Texas. Cinnamon teal are on my Most Wanted List! I have yet to harvest one and when I do it’s going on the wall for sure!

Green-winged Teal are the smallest of our North American ducks. The male Greenwing averages 0.7 lbs, and the female Greenwing weighs in at around 0.6lbs. Male green-winged teal have a chestnut head with an iridescent greenish purpley patch extending from their eyes to the neck. The wings are brownish-gray with a green speculum. The bill is dark slate and the legs and feet are dark gray. Female green-winged teal are mottled brown with a dark brown line that extends from the bill through the eye. The bill is dark gray and the legs and feet are olive-gray to brownish-gray. Greenwing Teal have an large wintering range, they have been recorded as far north as Alaska and Newfoundland. They have also been seen as far south as northern South America. Greenwings are most abundant along the Mississippi and Central flyways. Greenwings like the coastal marshes and rice fields. Southern states with these crops like Louisiana and Texas provide ideal habitat for them.

Bluewing Teal are slightly larger than Greenwings, male Bluewings around 1.0 lbs, and females 0.8 lbs. In my opinion Bluewings are the prettiest of the teal ducks. I really like the distinct white and blue markings the drakes have! Male blue-winged teal have a slate gray head and neck, a black-edged white crescent in front of the eyes and a blackish color on the top of their heads. Most of the upper wings are blue-gray, and they also have iridescent green and the underwing is white. The bill is black and the legs and feet are yellowish to orange depending on the duck. Female blue-winged teal have a brownish-gray head with a darker crown and eye stripe. The breast and sides are brown, the upper parts are olive brown, and the upper wing coverts are a blue color. The hens bill is gray-black and the legs and feet are dull yellow-brown. Blue-winged teal are usually the first ducks going south in the fall and the last flying north in the spring. They migrate from up north to wintering areas in Florida, the Caribbean Islands, the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, Mexico, both Central and South America. Bluewings like the following habitats: mangrove swamps, fresh and brackish estuaries and shallow wetlands. In the United States, the highest winter densities occur in southern Texas and Florida.

Cinnamon Teal drakes are well cinnamon colored. One thing that jumps to my mind when I think of this duck is there intense reddish hughes and their beady little red eyes! The males weigh 0.7 lbs and the females 0.8 lbs. Male cinnamon teal have a cinnamon-red head, neck, breast and belly. They have an iridescent green on wing which is separated from a bluish shoulder patch by a white stripe.They have a distinctive red eye, a black bill and yellow legs and feet. Female cinnamon teal are often confused with female blue-winged teal. They have a duller blue shoulder patch, an overall rustier color and are more heavily streaked. Most Cinnamon Teal winter in Mexico and Central America. During migration the Great Salt Lake marshes and the Central Valley of California are important areas they visit. Cinnamon Teal are commonly sighted in the Midwest and eastern United States. They like flocking with and are often associated with Bluewing teal because they like the same sorts of habitats. Cinnamon teal are common winter visitors to Central America and even sometimes further south.

Teal are more than a color…….Teal are beautiful and tasty birds that I enjoy hunting! I really do admire this duck species. I hope to someday finally harvest a Cinnamon Teal! If you want to find out more about this type of duck check out the Ducks Unlimited website. They have lots of duck identifying information and other helpful information pertaining to ducks and duck hunting.

Jun 01, 2013 | Category: Blog | Comments: none


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