Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Lynn Chamberlain
Photo Copyright Lynn Chamberlain

The cinnamon teal, Anas cyanoptera, occurs in two widely disjunct populations, one in North America, the other in South America. The North American population breeds in southwestern Canada, the western United States, and Mexico, and winters in the southwestern United States and Mexico. The South American population is widespread and may move from high-elevation breeding sites to middle elevations in other seasons. In Utah, this species is common in summer throughout the state and rare in winter in the southern part of the state. The habitat of this duck is seasonal and semipermanent wetlands (often highly alkaline), marshes, reservoirs, sluggish streams, ditches, and stock ponds. This species is omnivorous, eating seeds and aquatic vegetation, aquatic and semiterrestrial insects, and snails.

The nest is a hollow on the ground, usually well concealed by vegetation. Four to sixteen eggs are incubated by the female parent alone for 21 to 25 days. The precocial young leave the nest within 24 hours, following their mother to the nearest water. The young become independent after 49 days.

This species is the victim of brood parasitism by other ducks - in Utah commonly including the redhead and the ruddy duck, and rarely the northern shoveler - and occasionally even other water birds, such as the American coot. The cinnamon teal itself is a brood parasite of other ducks.


  • Gammonley, J. H. 1996. Cinnamon teal. Birds of North America 209: 1–19.

  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder’s handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.