Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors)


French: Sarcelle à ailes bleues German: Blauflügelente Spanish: Cerceta aliazul

Anas discors


, 1766,

North America = Carolina ex Catesby


Normally placed in Anas. Closely related to S. cyanoptera, and in past both at times placed in genus Querquedula. Genetic data indicate that the two are sister-species#R#R; recent genetic analyses suggest that N races of S. cyanoptera diverged first, and that present species separated from S races of S. cyanoptera more recently#R#R. E population of present species has been treated as a geographical race, orphna, but doubtfully valid. Monotypic.


Breeds in North America, from S Alaska to Newfoundland, and S to C USA and Gulf Coast. Winters in USA (California to Carolinas and Florida), West Indies, Middle America and N South America to central Peru and N Brazil.

Descriptive notes

35–41·5 cm; male 318–544 g, female 227–505 g; wingspan 58–69 cm. Breeding-plumage male had head and neck steel-blue, with white facial crescent... read more


Considered to be less vocal than most other ducks, even during display; male has usually thin, high... read more


Marshes, pools and small lakes of shallow fresh waters, swampy grasslands and flooded meadows, in... read more

Food and feeding

Seeds, roots and vegetative parts of grasses, sedges, algae and other aquatic plants; rice and grain; also aquatic invertebrates, chiefly... read more


Starts late Apr/early May (mainly mid May, e.g. mean nest-initiation date 10 May in NE Illinois), exceptionally as late as mid Jul, and... read more


Migratory, wintering in North America S of line from California to North Carolina (mainly in... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Abundant in North America, with c. 5,000,000 birds at outset of breeding season and c. 9,000,000 in autumn, and most recent estimate... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 29 January 2020).