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Ringed Teal


Scientific name: Callonetta leucophrys

IUCN World Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN

This bird is one of the smallest ducks in the world, growing up to 38cm in length. During the breeding season they can flock in groups of up to 100 birds.

They feed on the surface of the water, dipping their head, neck and chest underwater with the tail in the air. This is known as “up-ending”. They also dive underwater to avoid predators. There are at least three colour variations in these birds including blonde, orange and blue. A type of wood duck, they have strong, pointed claws on their feet and so can readily perch in trees.

Where in the world?

Native to South America, mainly north-west Argentina, Paraguay, parts of Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay.

Threats in the wild


Ring teal are found in forested areas with water including tropical, swampy forests and marshy clearings. Well-wooded lowlands, secluded pools and small streams are common habitats for this small bird.


The ringed teal has a similar diet to our own native ducks. They eat water plants, insects and seeds from the surface of the water.


This bird lines its nest with feathery down in holes or trees cavities. Both male and females take turns sitting on the eggs which can take 29 days to incubate.