Andean Teals


Merida Teal

The Andean Teal (Anas andium) was previously considered a subspecies of the Yellow-billed Teals - and they were then commonly referred to as "Speckled Teals".

The Andean Teals can be differentiated from the southern Yellow-billed Teals by their dark greyish bills.


Distribution / Range

The Andean Teal occurs naturally in Andes of Colombia and northern Ecuador, where it is found in freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes and wooded swamps - usually at high altitude; however, they may move down to coastal areas in the winter.


Subspecies and Ranges

  • Andean Teal or Andean Speckled Teal (Anas andium formerly Anas flavirostris andium - P. L. Sclater and Salvin, 1873) - Nominate Race
    • Range: Highlands of Colombia and Ecuador

  • Merida Teal, Merida Speckled Teal, South American Green-winged Teal or South American Teal (Anas andium altipetens formerly Anas flavirostris altipetens - Conover, 1941)
    • Range: Highlands of northwestern Venezuela and adjacent parts of Colombia (Eastern Andes)

Alternate (Global) Names

Danish: Andeskrikand ... German: Andenente, Andenkrickente ... Spanish: Cerceta barcina ... Estonian: kolumbia piilpart ... French: Sarcelle à bec jaune, Sarcelle des Andes ... Polish: cyraneczka andyjska ... Slovak: kacica andská



The Andean Teal measures between 14 -18 inches (35 - 45 cm). Its plumage is brown on the back and grey below. It has a green inner speculum (wing patch), bordered by buff on the leading edge and white on the trailing edge. However, the wing patches are usually only seen in flight and may look dark from below.

It has a dark brown head and a dark greyish bill.



In Colombia, the breeding season typically commences in February or March.

They typically nest near water in thick vegetation. The nests are placed in large forks of trees. They may also use the tests of Quaker Parakeets (Monk Parakeets) or make their nests in holes in banks. They may also nest in house roofs. Nesting may occur solitary or in loose groups. They usually produce only one brood a year.

This duck demonstrates some unique post-copulation behavior - after dismounting the female after mating, the males stretch themselves up high and swim around and alongside the females.

A clutch may consist of 1 - 5 eggs (occasionally as many as 8). The eggs are incubated for 22 -26 days to hatching. Both the male and female raise the young. The young fledge (leave the nest) when they are 6 - 7 weeks old.


Relevant Resources

Duck Information ... Index of Duck Species ... Photos of the Different Duck Species for Identification

Diet / Feeding:

Andean Teals feed by dabbling, upending (feeding upside down in water) or grazing on land.

It may submerge its head and on occasion even dive to reach food. In the breeding season it eats mainly aquatic invertebrates, such as crustaceans, insects and their larvae, mollusks and worms.

In winter, it shifts to a largely granivorous diet, feeding on seeds of aquatic plants and grasses, including sedges, rotting kelp and seeds of pig vine.

Ducks generally feed on larvae and pupae often found under rocks, as well as aquatic animals, plant material, seeds, small fish, snails and crabs.

Feeding Ducks ...

We all enjoy ducks and many of us offer them food to encourage them to come over and stay around - and it works! Who doesn't like an easy meal!

However, the foods that we traditionally feed them at local ponds are utterly unsuitable for them and are likely to cause health problems down the road. Also, there may be local laws against feeding this species of bird - so it's best to check on that rather than facing consequences at a later stage.

Please note that feeding ducks and geese makes them dependent on humans for food, which can result in starvation and possibly death when those feedings stop. If you decide to feed them, please limit the quantity to make sure that they maintain their natural ability to forage for food themselves - providing, of course, that natural food sources are available.


Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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