Hottentot teal in exhibit

Blue-billed Teal

Scientific Name

Spatula hottentota

Geographic Range

Sub-Saharan Africa

Diet

Seeds, fruit, and other vegetation (sometimes aquatic invertebrates when abundant)
Hottentot teal in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN IUCN Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN

About This Animal

Blue-billed teals are one of the smallest species of waterfowl in the world. They are called blue-billed teals because of the color of their bills. These ducks are generally covered in light brown feathers, with darker brown plumage on the breast, the top of the head, and wings, which are tipped with bluish-green.

This coloration provides camouflage in the freshwater marshes, swamps, lakes, and even semi-arid habitats where they live. Southern and eastern African blue-billed teals migrate for short distances, but West African and Madagascar-based populations do not.

These ducks are active mostly at dusk and dawn, and they are somewhat social. They live in small groups and breed in single pairs throughout the year. They usually build nests in hidden areas above water, such as partially-submerged trees. Their incubation period is 12 to 22 days.

Blue-billed teals have a large range (all of sub-Saharan Africa minus the Congo River basin and the Kalahari desert) and face no immediate threats in the wild. However, their populations are decreasing due to hunting and habitat degradation caused by activities that convert wetlands into agricultural areas.

Animal Care staff working with seal

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