©Guy Edwardes/2020VISION


©Bertie Gregory/2020VISION


Scientific name: Anas crecca
The teal is a pretty, little dabbling duck, which can be easily spotted in winter on reservoirs, gravel pits, and flooded meadows. Watching flocks of this bird wheel through a winter sky is a true delight.

Species information


Length: 34-38cm
Wingspan: 61cm
Weight: 330g
Average lifespan: 3 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

When to see

January to December


Common and pretty dabbling ducks, teal gather in large numbers in winter on flooded gravel pits, reservoirs and floodplain meadows. Many of these birds are migrants from the cold climes of the Baltic and Siberia. In summer, teal breed in small numbers in the UK, mostly in the north.

How to identify

The teal is our smallest duck. Males are grey, with a speckled breast, a yellow-and-black tail, a chestnut-coloured head and a bright green eye patch. Females are mainly mottled brown, but both sexes show a bright green wing patch in flight.


Nests in small numbers around the country, particularly in the uplands, but much more common in winter when it can be found on most wetlands.

Did you know?

Collectively, a group of teal is known as a 'spring' because of the way they can take-off suddenly and vertically, as if they have jumped straight off the ground!

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland and coastal nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.