Anas crecca (Linnaeus, 1758)
Family: Anseriformes > Anatidae
The Teal is our smallest duck and its bright green wing flash can be seen in marshlands across the UK.
This is an uncommon breeding bird in the UK, with an estimated population of just 4,000 pairs but this population is dwarfed by the winter arrival of around half a million birds from the Continent. At this time the male Teal is at his most resplendent, with a gilt-edged, chestnut and green head and a butter-yellow triangle beneath the tail. The scalloped, brown female shares the bright green wing flash of the male.
Wetland Bird Survey results show an upward trend for Teal across the UK and, unsurprisingly, that numbers peak between October and February. Since the 1968–72 breeding atlas, however, there has been a 14% decrease in the size of the breeding range in Britain.
Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Teal
Teal identification is often straightforward. The following article may help when identifying Teal.
Garganey are small, striking ducks, but they are scarce and secretive summer visitors. They can turn up anywhere on passage and whilst the males are easy to identify the females and young birds are similar to the familiar Teal. This video helps you pick out Garganey from the crowd.
Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Teal, provided by xeno-canto contributors.
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Status and Trends
Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.
This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.
Although much more abundant as a winter visitor, the Teal has a small breeding population of 2,700 to 4,750 breeding pairs (APEP4), with breeding numbers having increased since the time of the 1988–91 Breeding Atlas. However, the status is complicated by the presence of wintering and migrant birds until the end of April, and there has been a 14% range decrease since the 1968–72 Breeding Atlas; hence the longer term trend is unknown.
|UK winter population||+5% increase (1995/96 to 2020/21)|
In winter Teal are widespread throughout Britain & Ireland, being found in a variety of coastal and freshwater sites from small pools to large estuaries. The breeding season distribution map is distorted by the continued presence of wintering birds through to the end of April. Breeding Teal are patchily distributed in southern Britain and in Ireland.
Occupied 10-km squares in UK
|No. occupied in breeding season||1224|
|% occupied in breeding season||41|
|No. occupied in winter||2274|
|% occupied in winter||75|
European Distribution Map
Change in occupied 10-km squares in the UK
|% change in range in breeding season (1968–72 to 2008–11)||-16.5%|
|% change in range in winter (1981–84 to 2007–11)||+12.9%|
Teals are common winter visitors, recorded on up to 20% of lists but scarce in summer when there is a small over-summering population and small numbers breed.
Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.
An overview of year-round movements for the whole of Europe can be seen on the EuroBirdPortal viewer.
Lifecycle and body size information about Teal, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.
View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report
|Maximum Age from Ringing||18 years 0 months 20 days (set in 1988)|
|Typical Lifespan||3 years with breeding typically at 1 year|
|Adult Survival||0.53 (Male: 0.55±0.022 Female: 0.51±0.057)|
|Wing Length||Adults||187.2±7.5 | Range 177–196mm, N=5504|
|Juveniles||186.4±5.7 | Range 177-195mm, N=7902|
|Males||190.5±7.2 | Range 183–197mm, N=3314|
|Females||182.2±4.5 | Range 175–190mm, N=2170|
|Body Weight||Adults||323±60.64 | Range 260–395g, N=5181|
|Juveniles||296±34.7484 | Range 245–355g, N=7715|
|Males||336±41.36 | Range 275–400g, N=3121|
|Females||303±77.57 | Range 245–360g, N=2048|
Feather measurements and photos on featherbase
|Field Codes||2-letter: T. | 5-letter code: TEAL. | Euring: 1840|
For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name
Interpretation and scientific publications about Teal from BTO scientists.
Causes of change
The trend for the breeding population is uncertain and hence the drivers of change are also unclear.
High pathogenicity avian influenza: Targeted active surveillance of wild birds to enable early detection of emerging disease threats
A different approach could provide warning of avian influenza outbreaks
Although we lack complete understanding of the disease links between wild and captive bird populations, the pattern of HPAI emergence in captive poultry reflects the movements of migratory waterfow
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