Falcated teal belong to the order Anseriformes. As such, they are normally found in freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers and marshes that are surrounded by forest. They can also be found off the shores of Japan. (Johnsgard, 1978; Soothill and Whitehead, 1978)
- Terrestrial Biomes
- Aquatic Biomes
- lakes and ponds
- rivers and streams
Males and females are similar in length at 46 to 53 cm. Their weights range from 422 to 770 g, with males being slightly lighter than females. Their wingspans are 79 to 91 cm.
Both sexes have black bills, a brown iris, gray to yellowish colored legs, and an iridescent green speculum on each wing.
Males in breeding plumage have a crested head which is iridescent green and purple in color. They also have a white neck and a white spot just above the bill. Their bodies are gray and black. Their most interesting characteristic is their uniquely shaped tertial feathers; they are falcated, or sickle-shaped, and extend over the other wing feathers. Males in eclipse appear more like the females.
Females are brown and white in color and do not have the falcated tertial feathers. They look very similar to gadwalls, though falcated teal have a small crest on their head and their speculums are green.
- Sexual Dimorphism
- male larger
- sexes colored or patterned differently
- male more colorful
- sexes shaped differently
- Range mass
- 422 to 770 g
- 14.87 to 27.14 oz
- Average mass
- Males: 713; Females: 585 g
- Range length
- 46 to 53 cm
- 18.11 to 20.87 in
- Range wingspan
- 79 to 91 cm
- 31.10 to 35.83 in
Falcated teal form strong seasonal monogamous pairs and have a very intricate courtship ritual.
Females begin with an inciting call. They then perform a display that includes pointing their bills, lifting their chins and emitting soft rrr sounds. This display is reminiscent of that of gadwalls. They also perform an introductory shake display and preen behind the wings of favored males. Lastly, males make a hoarse gak-gak call when they are displaying.
Males use displays that are widely used throughout the Anas genus. These include an exaggerated introductory shake, a neck-stretching burp call, a grunt-whistle and a head-up-tail-up display. (Johnsgard, 1978)
- Mating System
The breeding season for falcated teal is from May to early July. They make their nests on the ground near water, usually in tall grass or brush. Clutch sizes range from six to nine cream colored eggs. Incubation time ranges from 24 to 26 days and time to fledging is 45 to 60 days. ("Bronze-Capped Teal", 1970; Johnsgard, 1978; Soothill and Whitehead, 1978)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Breeding interval
- Falcated teal breed once yearly
- Breeding season
- The breeding season for falcated teal occurs from May to early July
- Range eggs per season
- 6 to 10
- Range time to hatching
- 24 to 26 days
- Range fledging age
- 45 to 60 days
Females have a higher parental investment than males. They incubate the eggs for 24 to 26 days and then take care of the chicks until they are fully fledged, which is 45 to 60 days after hatching. Males tend to stay near the nesting site only for the first half of the incubation period. (Johnsgard, 1978)
There is no data on longevity or mean life expectancy of falcated teal.
Falcated teal tend to be seen in pairs and small groups. During migration and winter, however, they will be seen in large flocks. They are also often seen migrating and wintering with other Anas species, most commonly gadwalls. Most activity is performed during the day, but migration often occurs at night. ("Bronze-Capped Teal", 1970; Johnsgard, 1978; Soothill and Whitehead, 1978)
Communication and Perception
Along with the intricate courtship displays, males of the species will produce a low trilling whistle and females have a quack that is similar to mallards.
Falcated teal appear to be very social creatures. They have been known to associate with other Anas species while wintering and have been known to produce viable offspring with them.
Falcated teal are mostly herbivorous, and eat vegetable matter, seeds, rice and aquatic plants. Occasionally they also consume small invertebrates and soft shelled mollusks. (Johnsgard, 1978; Soothill and Whitehead, 1978)
- Animal Foods
- Plant Foods
- seeds, grains, and nuts
Flight is the main defense that falcated teal have against predators. Females' plumage features brownish tones that serve to better camouflage themselves, their nests, and ducklings within their grassy environments.
Humans are known to hunt falcated teal, both for food and their feathers. There is no information on other possible predator species. However, it can be assumed that the predators of other Anas species also prey on falcated teal. (Johnsgard, 1978)
- Anti-predator Adaptations
- Known Predators
- humans (Homo sapiens)
Since falcated teal eat grains and the seeds of plants, it can be assumed that they help to disperse seeds over a wide area.
Falcated teal, like many migratory birds, are host to a large number of parasites. Ectoparasites include ticks, fleas and lice. There are also a vast amount of internal parasites that use these birds as hosts. These include viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoans. Some of the better known diseases that can be carried by falcated teal include: West Nile Virus, Avian Influenza, Avian Pox, Salmonellosis, Staphylococcosis, and E. coli. Many of these can be transferred to other vertebrates, including humans. (Hubálek, 2004)
- Ecosystem Impact
- disperses seeds
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Over the last few decades, falcated teal have been used as an ornamental species in duck collections. This sets up a market for the raising and selling of this species.
They are also often hunted in the wild and are an important source of food for some of the countries in their range. Their feathers are also harvested and used for a variety of purposes. (Johnsgard, 1978)
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
With the number of diseases and parasites that falcated teal can carry, they may be considered a slight risk to humans and their domesticated animals.
- Negative Impacts
- carries human disease
- causes or carries domestic animal disease
Currently falcated teal are not threatened, but are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) this species is of least concern. They inhabit a wide geographic range and their population numbers appear to be stable. There are efforts to regulate hunting of all waterfowl, including falcated teal, and to provide alternate employment for some local hunters that may severely decrease local duck populations. (Birdlife International, 2008)
Stephen Glover (author), Northern Michigan University, Mary Martin (editor), Northern Michigan University, Rachelle Sterling (editor), Special Projects.
living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.
uses sound to communicate
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
- causes or carries domestic animal disease
either directly causes, or indirectly transmits, a disease to a domestic animal
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
- active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
- female parental care
parental care is carried out by females
union of egg and spermatozoan
an animal that mainly eats leaves.
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
mainly lives in water that is not salty.
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
marshes are wetland areas often dominated by grasses and reeds.
makes seasonal movements between breeding and wintering grounds
Having one mate at a time.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
specialized for swimming
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
- pet trade
the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.
the regions of the earth that surround the north and south poles, from the north pole to 60 degrees north and from the south pole to 60 degrees south.
- saltwater or marine
mainly lives in oceans, seas, or other bodies of salt water.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
uses sight to communicate
- young precocial
young are relatively well-developed when born
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Dunn, J., J. Alderfer. 2007. National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. Washington D.C.: National Geographic.
Hubálek, Z. 2004. An annotated checklist of pathogenic microorganisms associated with migratory birds. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 40/4: 639-659. Accessed February 17, 2011 at http://www.jwildlifedis.org/cgi/content/full/40/4/639.
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Natarajan, V., A. Akthar. 1987. Occurrence of the falcated teal Bombay Natural History Society, 84/3: 678.(Georgi) in Khijadia Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat.
Ozarowski, D., W. Meissner, M. Skakuj. 1993. First record of the falcated duck (Notatki Ornitologiczne, 34/ 3/4: 373-374.) in Poland.
Robertson, I. 1992. Falcated Teal Siam Society. Natural History Bulletin, 40/2: 191-192., a New Bird for Thailand.
San Miguel, M., T. McGrath. 2005. Report of the California Bird Records Committee: 2003 records. Western Birds, 36/2: 78-113.
Soothill, E., P. Whitehead. 1978. Wildfowl of the World. London: Peerage Books.