Friday, May 4, 2012

Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal are common, small dabbling ducks. Being a dabbler, they feed by tipping their bottons into the air in shallow waters on invertebrates and grass and sedge seeds. Unlike diving ducks that must run along the water surface, dabblers can take to the air in a single bound. Green-winged Teal differ from other dabblers in that they are one of the few that do not primarily breed in the prairie pothole region of north-central North America. Instead most breed in northern Canada and Alaska. Due to the remoteness of the breeding areas, Green-winged Teal numbers are high, and may be increasing (Johnson 1995). This teal is monogamous during the breeding season, although males will attempt extra-pair copulations. I photographed this handsome drake in late April at the Old Highway 77 Bridge in the Minnesota River Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

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