The Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca) is a dabbling duck and the smallest of this group. This little duck can be found as breeding bird in coastal zone of the Baltics and on the North Sea coast of northwest Europe. Inland we find them in the Netherlands, and in Northenr Germany (Lower Saxony and North-Rhine Westphalia).
Its main wintering areas are in south and west Europe and also on the Danish shores, central Europe and finally on Alpine foothills.
There are two subspecies of the Teal:
- Anas crecca nimia which lives in northwest of North America and on the Aleutian Islands during summer, spending winter in the warmer southern zones North America.
- Anas c. carolinensis – the Northamerican Teal which lices in Canada during summer, spending winter in the warmer US regions and in Mexico.
Characteristics of the Eurasian Teal
Family: Ducks (Anatinidae)
Sub-Family: Dabbling Ducks (Anatini)
Species: Eurasian Teal
Scientific Name: Anas crecca
Names and Synonyms of the Eurasian Teal
French: Sarcelle d‘hiver
Spanish: Cerceta Común
Hungary: Csörgö réce
Czech: Čírka obecná
Slovak: Kačica chrapkavá
Distribution – Movements – Wintering – Habitat
Distribution: Sedentary in western and central Europe, the British Isles, also breeding on Iceland, in Scandinavia and in Eastern Europe and more eastwards beyond the Ural.
Wintering: The Eurasian Teal winters in Spain/Portugal, south and southeast Europe in the East Mediterranean, northern Africa and in the Middle East.
Habitat: Inland waters with siltation zones, nutritious small bodies of water in swamps as well as in heathen and moorish lakes. Outside breeding populations migrate to coastal zones.
Behaviour: diurnal. This small duck is quick and agile while feeding in shallow waters. They are shy and don’t like people coming too close. They tend to appear in larger flocks on the water feeding. Obviously pairs stick together.
Field Characteristics of the Eurasian Teal
Smallest European / Eurasian duck with narrow pointed wings and short neck. Fast and agile flight in dense flock formation. Easy start from water surface and steep rise. Twists and turns in flight.
Male is colourful: head chestnut with green sides whith green colour thinly bordered yellow. The green is visible and most obvious even over larger distances.
Measurements and Voice
Size: 34-43 cm
Weight: ♂ = 250-450 g, ♀ = 200-400 g
Wingspan: 53-59 cm
Wing: ♂ = 181-196 mm, ♀ = 175-184 mm
Voice: Vocal, alwas chatting away. ♂ sounds like tinging whistle, sort of “treel”, whereas the ♀ utters feeble quaks, high-pitched like “peeht”.
Breeding Facts on the Eurasian Teal
Sexually mature: already in its first year.
Mating: Pairing happens in late winter.
Breeding Season: from April to June
Clutches per breeding season: only one clutch
Nest: breeding on the ground well hidden in riparian/riverside vegetation.
Clutch, Eggs & Measurements
Clutch: (5-) usually 8-11 (max -16) eggs. Larger clutches are mostly frome two females.
Eggs: long-oval cream-coloured eggs without stains.
Length: 41.0-50.1 mm
Width: 31.3-35.4 mm
Ø: 45.6×32.9 mm (n=100)
Weight of fresh egg: 23-32 g; Ø = 25.5-29.0 g
Shell Weight: 1.64-2.16 g; Ø = 1.9 g (n=100)
Laying, Incubation, Fledging and Dependency
Recurrent Clutch: possible when clutch is lost during early days of incubating
Laying Interval: 2 days, 24 hours max
Begin of incubating: after laying the last egg
Incubation: 21-23 days
Fledging: ducklings leave the nest as early as the downs have dried and follow the female. The female alone looks after the ducklings whereas the male leaves the family. Families mainly stick to the dense riparian vegetation. Juveniles fledge after c. 44 days.
Dependency: Family ties dissolve after fledging and immatures look for themselves.
Food – Longevity – Mortality – Enemies/Threats
Food: plants and animal food, aquatic plants, worms, crustacean, snails, shellfish
Longevity: the oldest known ringed bird of a Teal reached 27 years and 1 month
Mortality: with adult Teals mortality stands at 47-60 per cent per annum
Enemies and Threats: The most important threat to Teals are artificial drainage, loss of habitat due to dyking, building embankments, water development, loss of small bodies of water and conversion of wasteland into high efficiency cultural land. From my point of view hunting is no threat at all. However extensive recreational activities in breeding, resting and moulting areas lead to Teals leaving the entire area. Predatores are by no means capable of deminishing Teal populations because predatores do not destroy the existing food sources. However this is only the case when the ecosystem is intact. On the other hand, invasive species to the local fauna such as the racoon can seriously harm existing populatins of the Teal in an area.
Bauer, Hans-Günther, Bezzel, Einhard et. al. (HG), Kompendium der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Band 1+2, Sonderausgabe 2012, Aula Verlag, Wiebelsheim
Bauer, Hans-Günther, Bezzel, Einhard et. al. (HG), Kompendium der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Band 3, Literatur und Anhang, Aula Verlag Wiebelsheim, 2. vollständig überarbeitete Auflage 1993
Bezzel, Einhard, Kompendium der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Non-Passeriformes, Band 1, AULA-Verlag Wiesbaden, 1985
Bruun/Singer/König/Der Kosmos Vogelführer, Franck’sche Verlagshandlung Stuttgart, 5. Auflage 1982
Glutz von Blotzheim, Urs et. al (HG), Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Band 3, Anseriformes (2. Teil), Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, Wiesbaden, 1969
Svenson, Lars et. al, Der Kosmos Vogelführer, Franck-Kosmos Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, 2. Auflage 2011
Svenson, Lars, et al, Collins Bird Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe, Harper Collins London, 2019
Bundesamt für Naturschutz: Nationaler Vogelschutzbericht 2019 – Krickente = Teal – report section Kr…N – breeding birds (pdf Download – text in German)
Featured Image of Eurasian Teal: by ©Raymond Loyal
Egg of the Eurasian Teal: b Roger Culos – own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73293659
All other post images of the Eurasian Teal: by ©Raymond Loyal