The name "teal" possibly originated from the medieval English word tele, or the old Dutch word teling, both of which translate to small and referred to the diminutive Green-winged Teal. Some authorities suggest the name was derived from the distinctive "tutting" uttered by males in winter flocks.
Drakes are renowned for their penetrating, liquid high-pitched staccato, musical whistles, and the specific name is a Latinized onomatopoetic term imitating the creak note.
Contemporary "experts" have changed the descriptive vernacular name to
Common Teal, probably because the little ducks are known simply as the Teal in Europe.
Tiny, compact ducks, females may weigh a mere 6.6 ounces, making them
the smallest of European dabblers. Named for the brilliant, iridescent, green speculums of both sexes, the rich dark-chestnut head of the resplendent drakes is embellished by broad, iridescent bottle-green bands behind the eyes that are bordered with yellow.
While pair bonds are reasonably strong, the promiscuous drakes are prone to rape unattached females. Their well-concealed nests can be exceedingly difficult to locate. Producing fairly large clutches for such small ducks, females lay up to 16 eggs, but the incubation period of 21-23 days is quite short. Pair bonds dissolve when drakes desert their mates during incubation, and some males undertake lengthy molt migrations of up to a thousand miles. Young in the far north fledge in less than 30 days, but six weeks may be required in the southern areas.
Despite being only a quarter the size of Mallards, Green-winged Teal are highly sought by Wildfowlers.
The American population reaches seven million in some years, but the
number falls considerably by spring. The 1995 breeding population consisted of at least 2.25 million teal. As many as 1.8 million winter in the western Palearctic and eastern Mediterranean, and perhaps 1.9 million teal gather in Asia
DIET: Teal feed by head dipping (or dabbling) on both plant and animal material that includes water plants, plankton, crustaceans and tadpoles. These birds have tooth-like projections bordering the bill, which suggests that filter feeding may be important to this species.