Spread and habitat
The common teal is a migratory and locally sedentary species widespread in three subspecies in Eurasia and North America. In Europe it is common north of the 45th parallel. It winters south of the area to the Mediterranean and Central Africa basin. Poor breeder in Italy, but common as a winter visitor. It inhabits above all in freshwater wetlands, densely covered by vegetation. In some areas of central Europe its population is strongly in decline, perhaps due to the reclamation of marshland suitable for its survival.
The sexual dimorphism is not very accentuated.
The plumage of the male is easily recognizable in the mating season because of the brown head stained by a dark green patch that crosses the eye and by a bright yellow patch under the tail.
The wings have a band (the so-called mirror) half metallic green and half black, also present in the female; the lower parts are clear and thickly speckled on the chest.
The female instead has a more anonymous, brownish plumage.
Nutrition and behavior
The reproductive activity begins, in a reduced way, already in the autumn, even if the courtship and the most significant parades begin only in the spring. The female builds the nest on the ground, on a layer of dense vegetation, and gradually fills it with feathers during the reproductive period. It usually lays 8-11 eggs, once a year (April-May). In freedom it feeds on small insects, molluscs and seeds that can be replaced by a balanced feed in captivity. It reproduces easily in captivity.
Similar toAnas creeca is thereAnas formosa which lives in the coastal areas of the Arctic sea, in Siberia, Japan, China and occasionally in India, Nepal and Alaska (it prefers the taiga, the tundra and the estuaries of rivers).
Common Teal - Anas crecca (photo Emanuele Natali http://emanuelenataliphotography.weebly.com)
Common Teal - Anas crecca (photo Camilla Gargini)
Common teal (photo Alessio Bartolini - Padule di Fucecchio)