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New Orleans, LA

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field notes: on teal

Emily Degan

Mid-September means teal season in Louisiana. While we’re excited simply to be back in the marsh calling birds and taking shots, we wanted to spend a moment taking a closer look at these colorfully feathered fowl.

Green-winged teal feather magic. 

Green-winged teal feather magic. 

Teal are dabbling ducks, spending most of their time in shallow, primarily freshwater ponds and wetlands. The three most common varieties of teal are: blue-winged, green-winged, and cinnamon. Teal are smaller than most other duck species, characterized by their short necks and tails. Blue-winged teal are the second most abundant duck in North America (behind the mallard), though their population fluctuates with water conditions and the availability of wetlands.

Because they are less cold tolerant than other duck species, teal tend to migrate further south in the winter, sometimes venturing well into northern South America. Their migration starts earlier due to this longer journey.

Many hunters consider teal to be the fastest of duck species, but the red-breasted merganser actually hold that title, having clocked in at 100 mph.

Teal taste less gamey than diving duck species, so many people prefer to marinate and roast them. We shared one of our favorite roasted duck recipes on this blog last fall, and you can find it here.

Happy hunting!