Drake Eurasian Green-winged Teal (A. c. crecca)
are characterized by a highly visible horizontal white stripe that
separates the gray flanks and back, whereas the slightly larger
male American Green-winged Teal (A. c. carolinensis)
shows a conspicuous broad white vertical band between the breast and flank.
Described as recently as 1948, Aleutian Green-winged Teal (A. c. nimia)
are identical to the Old World race, except for a slightly superior size.
However, atypical of far-northern dabblers, they are year-round Alaskan residents,
where the teal are possibly the most numerous puddle-duck of the Aleutian Islands.
Frequenting ponds and lakes in summer, the Aleutian
teal shift to marine beaches in winter,
and commonly forage at low tide in tide pools and shallow-water reefs.
Females of the three races are virtually indistinguishable.
Though soft, drake vocalizations can be surprisingly far-carrying,
with the lower-pitched trilled notes bringing to mind calling tree-frogs or crickets.
Well known for swift, dashing flight,
their speed is usually overestimated and some hunters, after missing a shot,
infer that the teal fly as swiftly as 160 mph.
However, 50 mph is far more realistic.
Tightly knit flights twist and turn in perfect unison,
flashing white and dark in the manner of shorebirds.
Flocks frequently tower well up into the sky, with
rapidly beating wings generating pleasant whistling sounds.
Habitually walking great distances overland in quest of
Unlike their Eurasian counterpart,
the green facial bands of American Green-winged Teal are neither
totally nor distinctly bordered by narrow, creamy lines.
food the teal may gorge themselves on salmon eggs,
as well as rotting salmon carcasses in spawning
streams. Not especially shy,
the ducks loaf for much of the day ashore or in dense groups on open water,
and perching on dead trees and branches is not unusual.
Among the earliest of spring migrants, the surprisingly hardy teal
remain longer in the north in the fall than many dabblers.
Autumn migrants commonly linger along the way,
but the first snow and ice prompts the main flights to
wing south in October and November.
Even so, American teal may remain as
far north as Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in mild winters.
At home on any type of wetlands except
those that are deep, lifeless,
fast-running, exposed or wave-troubled
Green-winged Teal are attracted
to surprisingly small bodies of water.
Pairs commonly nest in roadside puddles, meandering
weed-choked creeks, muskeg sloughs and beaver ponds.
Drakes often outnumber females, leading to frequent hostile encounters
between quarrelsome rivals.
Displaying males are given to seemingly endless rapid-fire,
jerky movements, frequently interspersed
with dazzling aerial courtship chases.