Cape Teal Duck

The Cape Teal Duck species is essentially non-migratory, although it moves opportunistically with the rains. Like many southern ducks, the sexes are similar. It is very pale and mainly grey, with a browner back and pink on the bill (young birds lack the pink). The  Cape Teal Duck cannot be confused with any other duck in its range. This species feeds on aquatic plants and small creatures (invertebrates, crustaceans and amphibians) obtained by dabbling. The nest is on the ground under vegetation and near water. This is a generally quiet species, except during mating displays. The breeding male has a clear whistle, whereas the female has a feeble “quack”.

Cape Teal Duck

Cape Teal Duck

Appearance: – The Cape Teal duck has a mottled pale grey head and body, mottled brown back, distinctive pink beak which is black at the base and tip, and red eyes. The speculum is green and black, and is bordered broadly with white in front and behind. Both sexes are alike but the female is slightly smaller, paler and less mottled.

Size: – Typical Adult is about 14 inches.

Food: – Aquatic plants, leaves, seeds, invertebrates, crustaceans, and small amphibians.

Habitat: – Wetlands, lakes, marshes, rivers, and estuaries in south Africa and popular in the western Cape.

Breeding Season: – March to May.

Eggs: – 6 to 11 (creamy-white color).

Notes: – The Cape Teal duck, also called the Cape Widgeon, is a dabbling duck which will also dive and swim underwater for food like a diving duck. Unusual for dabbling ducks, the male will stay with the female to help raise their young.

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.

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