Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Silver Teal (Spatula versicolor)


French: Sarcelle bariolée German: Silberente Spanish: Cerceta capuchina
Other common names: Versicolor Teal

Anas versicolor


, 1816,



Normally placed in Anas; closest to S. hottentota and S. puna#R, and all three sometimes placed together in genus Punanetta. Taxon puna considered a full species here (which see). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. v. versicolor (Vieillot, 1816) – S Bolivia to S Brazil, and S to C Argentina.
  • S. v. fretensis (P. P. King, 1831) – C Chile and C Argentina S to Tierra del Fuego, also Falkland Is; those breeding in far S winter as far N as S Brazil.
  • Descriptive notes

    38–43 cm; male 409–473 g, female 373–384 g. Easily identified in range by striking head and bill patterns. Male has blackish-brown cap, separated from pale... read more


    Vocalizations of male include a quiet “buzz” which accompanies “Burp-whistle” that sounds like... read more


    Shallow freshwater lakes, swamps and pools bordered with abundant floating or emergent vegetation... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds and vegetative parts of aquatic plants, grasses and sedges; also aquatic invertebrates (insects and larvae, molluscs, crustaceans).... read more


    Season variable: starts mainly Oct/Nov in S; Sept–Mar in Peru. Male to some extent polygamous, pursuing additional females and... read more


    Partially migratory; southernmost breeding birds move northwards to winter as far N as SE Brazil,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly widespread and locally abundant, with estimated populations of 25,000–100,000 for versicolor and fretensis... read more

    Recommended citation

    Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Silver Teal (Spatula versicolor). 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 10 December 2019).