© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Jouko Lehmuskallio, Kari Pihlaviita, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.
- Name also: Common Teal, Green-winged Teal
- Family: Waterfowl – Anatidae
- Appearance: A very small dabbling duck. Speculum wing panel green near wing base and black nearer wingtip, edged with narrow pale stripes in front and behind. Bill slender.
- Size: Length 34–38 cm, wingspan 53–59 cm, weight 270–330 g.
- Nest: In a sheltered location, sometimes some distance from water, lined with dry grass and down.
- Breeding: 7–11 eggs laid in April–May, incubated by female for 21–27 days. Ducklings leave the nest soon after hatching and quickly learn to find food for themselves, but they stay together as a brood with their mother until they learn to fly, within about 6 weeks.
- Occurrence: Breeds throughout Finland around open waters and wetlands. Finnish breeding population estimated at 150,000–250,000 pairs.
- Migration: Mainly by night. Leaves Finland August–September, returning April–May. Winters in Western and South-western Europe and North Africa. Also sometimes observed in Finland during the winter.
- Diet: Plants, invertebrates.
- Calls: In spring males make a loud, clear “krik” call. Females make a quacking call similar to the quacking of Mallards, but less noisy.
Teals may be hunted in Finland. They are the smallest duck species found here, and the second most abundant (after the Mallard). Males in breeding plumage have cinnamon brown heads with a metallic green face patch which narrows towards the back of the neck, and is lined with yellowish edging. Their upper parts and flanks are grey, with a black and white lengthwise stripe running back from each shoulder. They have a yellow and black patch on their vents, which is conspicuous on swimming birds. From a distance breeding males look uniformly grey with dark heads. They moult in late June and grow new plumage similar to that of females, though they can be distinguished by the uniform grey colouring on the leading edge of their secondary wing feathers.
Females and juveniles resemble female Garganeys, but can be distinguished by their darker general colouring, the finer detail of their scale-like patterning, and their less distinctive eyebrow stripes. They also have an indistinct pale brown spot on the base of the bill (on Garganeys this spot is clearer and paler).
Teals’ legs are greenish grey, their bills are grey, and their irises are dark brown. When moving in flocks their behaviour may appear more wader-like than duck-like, due to their rapid darting flight and the dense flocks they form.