This is the common small duck over the Northern part of Eurasia and North America which winters further South - away from really freezing conditions. Many winter in Western Europe, a few in North Africa, most from Asia in India and SE Asia and the North American ones as far South as the Caribbean and Mexico. In North America the bird is called the Green-winged Teal and they are quite distinct.
European males are very pretty with chestnut heads and a broad green eye-stripe (fine yellow line round it) and a basically grey body but a brown spotty breast. The females have the same structure but they are brownish birds. These birds are found on marshes and in shallow fresh water often in big flocks. They dabble and upend but do not dive (except under extreme pressure). Food can be animal or vegetable - the former mostly in summer and seeds mostly in winter. Breeding population in Britain and Ireland may be 2,500 pairs and seems to be declining at the moment.
A small and very common dabbling duck.
Length 360 mm Closed wing 184 mm Weight 350 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead