Bernier’s Teal Duck
Bernier’s Teal Duck is endemic to the island of Madagascar, where it is found in mangrove forests. It rarely leaves this habitat, where it favors open shallow ponds and lakes, mostly brackish. Its range encompasses the whole of the west coast and the extreme north-east. It is known to breed at a few sites, central and north-west coasts.
Appearance: – The Bernier’s Teal duck has a uniform warm brown plumage, a light brown head with darker crown, brown eyes, pinkish-grey beak, the feathers on the breast and under-parts are light brown with darker center markings, the upper-parts are dark brown with buff edging, the wings are brown with a white bordered black speculum, and pinkish legs and feet. Both sexes are similar.
Size: – Typical Adult is 16-18 inches.
Food: – Insects, invertebrates, aquatic plants and seeds.
Habitat: – Mangroves, shallow brackish lakes, wetlands, rivers and marshes on the west coast of Madagascar.
Breeding Season: – December to March during the wet season.
Eggs: – 6 to 7 (Pale fawny-buff to yellowish-buff color).
Notes: – The Bernier’s Teal duck or Madagascar Teal is a dabbling duck which is endemic to Madagascar. This duck is classed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List which means it is close to extinction. This is because their natural habitat, the mangrove forests of western Madagascar, are being destroyed for timber and fuel. However, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is now undergoing a successful breeding program.
The different types of wild ducks can be grouped into puddle, aka “dabbling” and diving ducks. The dabblers mostly feed in smaller bodies of shallow water or along shorelines, where they are able to tip their bodies forward to reach their food on the bottom. There are divers who feed in deeper water where they dive and pursue their quarry. Some of these birds, the Harlequin Duck for example, actually dives to the bottom of fast-flowing waters and feeds on life forms attached to rocks.