Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Robert T. Maytum
Photo Courtesy of Robert T. Maytum

The blue-winged teal, Anas discors, is a dabbling duck that breeds in much of North America, particularly in the prairie pothole region of Canada and the United States. Northern populations migrate to the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the West Indies for winter. The species is moderately common in Utah during the breeding season, but it is not found in the state during the winter, as flocks have migrated south to warmer areas.

Blue-winged teal prefer wetland habitats; nesting often occurs in grasslands near ponds or wetlands. Nests are built on the ground in areas with thick vegetation. Six to fifteen eggs are laid during the spring, and are incubated by the female alone for 23 to 27 days. Many nests are lost to predators, and females may lay a second clutch if conditions are right. The young, which can fly at five to six weeks of age, are tended by the female. Blue-winged teal eat aquatic plants, seeds, and aquatic invertebrates.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.