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Brown Teal - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 23:01, 18 February 2017 by Deliatodd-18346 (talk | contribs) (References updated)
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Anas chlorotis


48cm tall and weigh just over half a kilo as an adult. The male is slightly larger than the female. Brown teal have a warm brown plumage, with dark-brown mottling on the breast.

Breeding males have a glossy green head, a narrow white collar, broad green and narrow white bands on the wings and a white flank patch. A distinctive feature of all Brown Teal is their blue-black bill and the narrow white ring around the eye. Their eyes are brown.


Once common throughout New Zealand, habitat destruction, especially swamp drainage and predation, reduced the population to approximately 1300 birds (1999), most of them found on Great Barrier Island. A few birds can be found on Kapiti, Mana, and Tiritiri Matangi Islands; the eastern side of Northland and a new population has been established in the Coromandel area. Brown teal are regularly present at the Waikanae Estuary, probably part of the Kapiti Island population. In the South Island, a few birds survive in Fiordland.


This is a monotypic species[1].

The Brown Teal is one of 3 closely related species of Teal in New Zealand, the other two being the Auckland Islands Teal, and Campbell Island Teal.


They are often referred to as bush ducks, since they prefer stream and bushland habitats, shallow wetlands, estuaries, and wet forest habitats.


Listed as endangered. The populations has been dramatically reduced by habitat destruction, hunting pressure and introduced mammals. The remaining populations are carefully managed and are now increasing.2


They are reluctant flyers and are shallow divers, dabbling just below the surface for food.


Their favourite food is invertebrates and they mainly feed in the evening or at night.


Most brown teal breed from June to October but are able to breed at almost any time of the year. They begin breeding at about 2 years of age and can lay clutches of up to 8 eggs.

They build a bowl-shaped nest near water, under the cover of dense tussocks or ferns, constructed with grasses lined with down. The female incubates the eggs about 30 days while the drake guards the nest - they are strongly territorial during breeding. Chicks fledge at an age of about 2 months.


Males give a soft whistle, and the female a low quack and growl.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BirdLife International

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