Chestnut Teal Duck
The Chestnut Teal Duck is commonly distributed in south-eastern and south-western Australia, while vagrants may occur elsewhere. Tasmania and southern Victoria are the species’ stronghold, while vagrants can be found as far north as New Guinea and Lord Howe Island. The chestnut teal duck prefers coastal estuaries and wetlands, and is indifferent to salinity. This bird is an omnivore. Chestnut teals form monogamous pairs that stay together outside the breeding season, defend the nest site and look after the young when hatched. Nests are usually located over water, in a down-lined tree hollow about 6–10 m high.
Male – The male chestnut teal duck has an iridescent green head and upper neck, red eyes, and blue-grey beak with black markings, a deep chestnut brown breast, lower neck, and flanks which have dark brown spots, brown back and wings, black tail and rump, the ventral area has white sides behind the flanks, and the legs and feet are greenish-grey.
Female – The female has a brown head, red eyes, and mottled brown body.
Eclipse – The male in eclipse plumage is similar to the female but has more coloring with a deeper brown plumage. May still have greenish-grey head and neck.
Size: – Typical Adult is about 16 inches.
Food: – Aquatic plants, seeds, sedges, insects and small aquatic invertebrates.
Habitat: – Wetlands, swamps, marshes, and coastal estuaries in south-east and south-west Australia, and also in Tasmania.
Breeding Season: – July to November.
Eggs: – 7 to 10 (light-cream color).
Notes: – The chestnut teal duck is a small southern Australian dabbling duck. The female is very similar in appearance to the Grey Teal.
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.