Hottentot teal in exhibit

Blue-billed Teal

Scientific Name
Spatula hottentota
Geographic Range
Sub-Saharan Africa
Seeds, fruit, and other vegetation (also aquatic invertebrates)
Hottentot teal in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern

More Information

Blue-billed teals are 12–14 inches long and weigh about half a pound. They have a blue bill, a light brown head with a dark brown cap, and a light brown body with darker mottling. These teals are mostly active at dawn and dusk and are somewhat social, living in small groups. Some populations migrate for short distances, but not in West Africa or Madagascar. They breed throughout the year, constructing nests above water in clumps of papyrus or submerged trees and incubating eggs for about three weeks.

Did You Know?

  • Blue-billed teals are one of the smallest duck species in the world.
  • They are dabblers, so they feed by reaching their bill into the water while swimming on the surface.
  • They are related to Eurasian teals, the ducks with blue-green head feathers for which the color teal was named. They do not have this color on their head, but they do have a patch of blue-green on their wings, which acts as camouflage in shallow freshwater lakes and ponds.


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