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What am I?

Teals are small dabbling ducks. Males have chestnut coloured heads with broad green eye-patches, a spotted chest, grey flanks and a black edged yellow tail. Females are mottled brown. Both show bright green wing patches (speculum) in flight. They are thinly distributed as a breeding species with a preference for northern moors and mires.

In winter, birds congregate in low-lying wetlands in the south and west of the UK. Of these, many are continental birds from around the Baltic and Siberia. At this time, the UK is home to a significant percentage of the NW European wintering population making it an Amber List species.

How to spot them

The teal is our smallest duck. Males are grey, with a speckled breast, a yellow-and-black tail, a chestnut-coloured head and a bright green eye patch. Females are mainly mottled brown, but both sexes show a bright green wing patch in flight.

Where to see them

Nests in small numbers around the country, particularly in the uplands, but much more common in winter when it can be found on most wetlands.

Conservation status

The teal is amber listed in the UK (Opens in a new window)

Did you know?

Collectively, a group of teal is known as a ‘spring’ because of the way they can take-off suddenly and vertically, as if they have jumped straight off the ground.

teal bird