The Eurasian teal

Writer: Issac Cohen  |  Editor: Liu Minxia  |  From: Shenzhen Daily

A female Eurasian teal is seen foraging in waters off Shenzhen Bay. Photos by Isaac Cohen

The Eurasian teal

The gorgeous Eurasian teal (Anas crecca) is a familiar and welcome sight for anyone living in or visiting Shenzhen during winter. These small ducks with striking coloring add joy and life to Shenzhen Bay Park during their migratory journey to warmer lands.


The Eurasian teal is one of the smallest duck species, averaging only 35 centimeters in length and weighing around one pound. Despite their small stature, these ducks have good looks. Males have a deep navy blue head and neck contrastingwith their chestnut brown backs and pale grey wings adorned with beautifully-colored patches. Females are much less colorful, with mottled brown feathers and lighter faces.


These little ducks have webbed feet and short bills that are perfect for grazing on vegetation. Their diet mainly consists of pond plants, seeds, grains, and small invertebrates in and around the water. They will forage in shallow ponds, streams, and wetlands, grazing on plants and insects at the water’s edge.


A male Eurasian teal is seen at Shenzhen Bay Park. 

During mating season in spring, male Eurasian teals perform dramatic courtship displays to attract mates. Several males will pursue a single female in a competitive race, swimming quickly around her while shaking their heads to show off their colorful feathers. Once pairs have formed, the female will build a nest in tall grasses and weeds near water. Females will lay around 10 eggs per clutch that both parents will incubate for about three weeks.


After hatching, both parents remain fiercely protective of their newborns, guarding and leading them to nearby ponds and streams to feed. The ducklings grow quickly, achieving full adult size in about two months.


The best way to see Eurasian teals up close is by visiting Shenzhen Bay Park early in the morning during the winter. The ducks are most active at dawn as they feed and preen before temperatures rise. You’re almost guaranteed to spot clusters gathered together, diving for food or resting placidly on the water’s surface. And you’ll undoubtedly find their charming good looks and cheerful nature infectious.