Identification of teals from Spain

Anas crecca
cerceta común – common teal ­– xarxet comú – zertzeta arrunt – cerceta común
Maybe the smallest of our ducks, with 34-38 cm and 53-59 cm of wingspan. Males are grey, with reddish head, a green ocular band and a yellow triangle under the tail. The males also have a withe band in the wing visible when the bird isn’t flying (scapular list). Females are brown and spotted, but the small size and green speculum in the wing distingued it from other species. Juveniles are so similar than females but with more orange in the lawer jaw.
The common teal is a common duck in all the Iberian Peninsule. We find it specially at winter, when  thousands of teals arrive to Spain from other places of Europe. In some places we can also find some breeding pairs, but is rare to find breeding populations.

Anas carolinensis
cerceta aliverde o americana – green winged teal – xarxet americà 

Similar size than common teal, 34-38 cm and 53-59 cm of wingspan. Males are so easy to identify, they have a withe band in the side (the common teal have got a scapular list) and the breast is redder than the common one. Females are one of our ducks more difficult to identify, and if they don’t go with a male we can’t be sure that the identification is good. Green winged females almost always have the head marks more marked than common teals. The other thing that can help us in the identification of females is the band of the wing, usually reddish ore ligth orange in green winged teal and withe in common teal. Juveniles are similar than females.
Excepcional vagrant, maybe there are some few birds that remains all the year in Europe, but we can’t say it for sure.

Anas querquedula
cerceta carretona – garganey – xarrasclet – uda-zertzeta – cerceta do estío

Small size, with 37-41 cm and 59-67 cm of wingspan. Males are unmistakable, with grey and brownish body, brown breast and head and a withe “eyebrow”above the eyes. Females are a little bite more difficult to identify. They have marked marks in the head and withish spots in the “eyebrow”, the base of the bill and the throat. The bill is longer and heavier than in other small ducks. They also have grey wings, without green or blue in the speculum. Juveniles are similar than females but with diffuse spots and marks on the head.
In the migrations we find it in all the south of the Iberian Peninsule, and we find breeding populations in Doñana (Huelva), with irregular nidifications at Delta de l’Ebre (Tarragona) and Aiguamolls de l’Empordà (Girona).

Anas discors
cerceta aliazul – blue winged teal – xarxet alablau – zertzeta hegalurdin –
 cerceta aliazul 

Small size, like other teals. 37-41 cm and 59-67 cm of wingspan. Males are unmistakable, with brown and spotted body, grey or blue head with a withe spot like a moon between the eye and the bill and a withe spot on the side, near the tail. Females are similar than the garganey, but without withish spots (except for one at the base of the bill) and with the upper part of the wing in blue color and a green speculum. Juveniles are similar than females.
American species, vagrant in Spain. Some of them are escaped birds.

Anas formosa
cerceta del Baikal – Baikal teal – xarxet del Baikal

39-43 cm and 60-65 cm of wingspan. Males are, like other teals, unmistakable, with grey body, pink breast and strange marks on the face with black, green and yellow. Females are also diferent from other teals, with marked marks in the face. They have withe throat, dark head, a dark spot in the cheek and a withe spot in the base of the bill surrounded of dark. Juveniles have also this spot, but they are lighter than females and they have a brown – reddish breast.  
Rare in Spain, usually the observations of this bird are fruit of escapaments.


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