Bryan Brillhart Photography Presents Dig Imperial Beach "Bird of the Week", the "Green-Winged Teal"
Jul 07, 2016 06:05PM
By Paul Spear
Bryan Brillhart of Bryan Brillhart Photography presents us with the Dig Imperial Beach “Bird of the Week”. This week’s bird is the "Green-Winged Teal (Anas carolinensis or Anas crecca carolinensis)"
The column will provide a picture of a bird(s) locally photographed and we will have background on the bird.
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Green-Winged Teal (Anas carolinensis or Anas crecca carolinensis)
This week’s “Bird of the Week” is the Green-Winged Teal (Anas carolinensis or Anas crecca carolinensis), our smallest dabbling duck. They are very common and widespread, remaining
through the winter farther north than other teal. Often resting out of the water, they even stand on low snags or branches. Flocks in flight appear very fast because of their small size, with rapid twisting and turning in unison. They typically travel in small flocks, but in winter or at migration stopovers, they may gather in concentrations of thousands.
Habitat is in marshes, rivers, and bays. In summer, they can be seen in open country near shallow freshwater lakes and marshes. In migration and winter, they are found on coastal estuaries and tidal marshes, and also on shallow lakes and ponds inland, seeming to prefer those with much standing or floating vegetation.
They forage by wading or swimming in very shallow water while filtering mud with their bills, up-ending, or picking items from water's surface. They feed by night or day. Diet consists of mostly
plant material. Diet is quite variable with season and location. They feed especially on seeds of grasses, sedges, pondweeds, and many others, also taking aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks, tadpoles, and rarely earthworms, and fish eggs. They may feed more on animal matter in summer, and on seeds in winter.
After mating, females lay 6-11, rarely up to 15 or 18, cream to pale buff eggs. Incubation is by females only, in 20-24 days, usually 21. Young leave the nest a few hours after hatching. Females care for ducklings, which may return to the nest for the first few nights. Young find all their own food, and fledge at about 35 days.
Pairs usually arrive already mated on breeding grounds. In one courtship display, males rears up out of water, arching their heads forward and downward, and shake their bilsl very rapidly in water while giving a sharp whistle.
Nest sites are usually among grasses and weeds of a meadow, and sometimes in open woodland or brush, within 200' of water. Nests are well hidden by surrounding grasses or shrubs, which often form a complete canopy. Nests, built by females, are a shallow depression filled with grasses, twigs, and leaves, and lined with down.
Green-winged teals are generally a winter visitor to our great Tijuana Estuary, where they can be seen dabbling the water surface for food. Take a walk there on the many trails to spot this bird and the many others that visit there during the different seasons throughout the year. Until next week, good birding!