BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors) (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Blue-winged teal is a rather small dabbling duck. The drake has a dark blue-grey head with a large white vertical crescent in front of the eye. The body is beige mottled with black, and there is a white patch on the flanks near the black back. The bill is black and the legs are yellow. Females are mottled brown with a darker stripe across the eye. Both sexes have sky blue coverts and a green speculum. This duck is approximately 40 cm (16 in.) long.
NAME: The Latin name ‘Spatula’ means ‘spoon’, and ‘discors’ relates to not being in harmony (think of ‘discord’), in reference to the facial color pattern of the drake.
HABITAT: This duck’s habitat includes grassy wetlands with tall vegetation in the Prairies, and coastal marshes that provide enough vegetation for cover.
DIET: Blue-winged teals feed in shallow water and mud flats where most of its diet consists of plant material such as seeds, roots, leaves and stems.
NESTING: The nest is a scrape on the ground lined with vegetation in a well-hidden area not far from water. About ten creamy eggs are laid, which are incubated by the female, who also cares for the ducklings.
DISTRIBUTION: This duck breeds in most of Canada and the USA. It is the most abundant duck in parts of the Prairies, in spite of having a very high mortality rate. It is also an early migrating bird. Its wintering range includes the southern part of the USA, southward to northern South America. Some individuals will spend the winter on Hawaii.
ON PEI: The blue-winged teal breeds on Prince Edward Island and is listed as common.
CONSERVATION: Blue-winged teals are widespread and abundant ducks. Their population fluctuates with the drought cycles in the Prairies. Hunters are able to shoot several hundred thousands each season within legal limits.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Green-winged Teal
REFERENCES: (Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas)

Blue-winged teal male in flight, Bazoria  National Wildlife Refuge, TX - Dan Pancamo
Blue-winged teal male in flight, Bazoria
National Wildlife Refuge, TX - Dan Pancamo
Blue-winged teal pair, Leon ProvencherMarsh, QC - May 2012, by Cephas
Blue-winged teal pair, Leon Provencher
Marsh, QC - May 2012, by Cephas