Blue-winged Teal

Waterfowl Identification

Blue-winged Teal, Anas discors, are among the smallest of the dabbling ducks. The drake has a very prominent white facial crest between the bill and eye, a brown spotted breast and flanks, a pale blue shoulder patch and a black rear end. The hen has a dark eye line, mottled brown body and duller pale blue shoulder patch. Because of the pale blue shoulder patches, Blue-winged Teal can be confused with the larger Northern Shoveler in flight.
Image comparing drake and hen/UISFWS Drake images

Their small size and twisting turning flight gives the illusion of great speed. The small, compact flocks commonly fly low over the marshes, and often take the hunter by surprise. These teal are among the first ducks to migrate each fall, and one of the last in the spring.

Length: 16"
Weight: 15 oz.

Image comparing fulvous and Black-bellied whistling ducks wings/USFWS


 Distribution Map

Similar Species

In Flight
In flight illustration/USFWS In flight illustration/USFWS

They are more vocal than most ducks—their high-pitched peeping and nasal quacking is commonly heard in spring and to a lesser extent in fall.

Last Updated: November 14, 2018