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What is a Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors)

The Blue-winged Teal, a small and graceful duck, is a marvel of wetland ecosystems. Known for its striking blue wing patches and swift flight, this bird is a delight to birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Blue-winged Teal Overview

This species of waterfowl is notable for its migratory behavior and distinctive coloration. The Blue-winged Teal plays a significant role in aquatic food chains and is a symbol of healthy wetland habitats.


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Genus: Spatula
  • Species: S. discors

Size and Body Description

Blue-winged Teals are relatively small ducks, with a length of about 16 inches. They have a compact body, a short neck, and a small bill. The males are known for their blue wing patches and speckled brown body, while females have a more subdued brown plumage.


Approximately 16 inches (40 cm) in length.


Their diet mainly consists of seeds, aquatic invertebrates, and small fish. They forage in shallow waters, dabbling at the surface or tipping up to reach underwater food.


These ducks breed in shallow wetlands and lay 6-10 eggs in a nest hidden in tall grass. As birds, they do not engage in pollination.


They are widespread in North and South America, especially during migration seasons. In the U.S., they breed in the northern states and migrate to the southern states, Central America, and the Caribbean for winter.

Where Found

Blue-winged Teals are found in shallow freshwater ponds, lakes, and marshes. They prefer habitats with ample vegetation for cover and feeding.

How Long Do Blue-winged Teals Live

Blue-winged Teals typically live for 3-5 years in the wild, though some may live longer.


While currently not endangered, Blue-winged Teals are affected by wetland degradation and climate change. Conservation efforts aim to preserve wetland habitats.

Additional Photos

What is a Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors)
Blue-winged Teal – anatidae spatula discors – swimming on water

The Blue-winged Teal, with its remarkable adaptability and beauty, reminds us of the importance of conserving wetland habitats. These ducks are not only a key part of the ecosystem but also a joy to observe in their natural environment.

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