Ian’s Bird of the Week – Chestnut Teal

Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea)by Ian

Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea)by Ian

Graham Pizzey has neat descriptions in his field guide (Pizzey and Knight: Field Guide to the Birds of Australia). This is what he says about the Chestnut Teal: ‘Male: elegant small duck with bottle-green head, rich chestnut body, white flank-mark, black stern’. The females, who do all the incubation and often nest on the ground, are, in contrast well camouflaged. The males, do, however, help to look after the ducklings.

Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea) Male by Ian

Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea) Male by Ian

It is a southern species, so it was good to encounter these ones in New South Wales in January. They are abundant in Tasmania and common in southeast and southwestern Australia but occur only as vagrants north of the Tropic of Capricorn.

The female is very similar to both sexes of the closely related and more widespread Grey Teal, but is distinguished by darker colouration and the Grey teal has a diagnostic whitish neck and lower face. To complicate identification, the male Chestnut Teal moults after breeding into the ‘eclipse’ plumage which looks like the female and retains this plumage from February to April. Eclipse plumage occurs almost universally in those duck species which have brightly coloured males.

Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea) Female by Ian

Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea) Female by Ian

Recent additions to the website include photos of:

Common Tern
Greater Sand Plover
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Little Curlew
Comb-crested Jacana

Best wishes,

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition:

Teals are in the Anatidae Family (Ducks) of the Anseriformes Order. The other two families in the Order are the Anhimidae – Screamers and the Anseranatidae – Magpie Goose.

Teals are “any of about 15 small ducks of the genus Anas (family Anatidae), found on the six major continents and many islands. Within the divisions of true duck species, the teal belong in the dabbling duck group. Many of the teal are popular as game birds, the best known being the Holarctic green-winged teal (A. crecca), a bird about 33–38 centimetres (13–15 inches) in length, usually found in dense flocks. The small blue-winged teal (A. discors) breeds across Canada and the northern United States and winters south of the U.S” (Britannica Online)

If you come across a bird’s nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young. (Deuteronomy 22:6 ESV)

See Also:
Chestnut Teal – DSE Australia
Chestnut Teal – Wikipedia
Chestnut Teal Anas castanea – World Bird Guide

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