Common Teal- Anas crecca


  • Kingdom: Aves
  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Genre: Anas
  • Species: Anas crecca

Identification characters

It is the smallest of the duck species, as the popular name suggests. The body is 34-38 cm long and the wingspan is 53-59 cm. It weighs 200-450 g. The neck is short, the wings are narrow and pointed. The eye is a shiny green colour in both sexes.
As in all ducks, sexual dimorphism is present in the small duck. Adult male
nestling male has a brown head with green on the side, the green area being bordered by a narrow yellow band. The underside of the tail has a yellow triangular area bordered with black. On the side it has a white horizontal line.
The female is brownish, bordered with black spots.


The little duck has a very wide distribution, its range encompassing all of Europe, North America and Asia. It nests in the northern and temperate parts of its range. In Europe, the breeding population of the Lesser Spotted Duck is estimated at 557,000 -915,000 pairs.
In Romania, the Lesser White-fronted Duck can be found mainly in the passage and during winter on natural and artificial lakes, ponds, estuaries, deltas, lagoons and marshes. During the nesting season there are small populations in Transylvania and northern Moldavia, in mountain, depression and coastal water areas.
The number of small nesting ducks in Romania is 0-3 pairs. Between 1,150 and 19,951 winter here and between 200,000 and 300,000 may be seen during passage.

Living environment and biology of the species

During the nesting season, the little ducks gather in flocks. It is a predominantly migratory species. Small sedentary populations occur in the southern part of the range. The autumn migration begins in July and culminates in October-November. They return to their wintering grounds in March-April. In winter can also be found on open water, lakes, deltas, flooded plains.
It is considered one of the fastest flying ducks. It can reach more than 120 km per hour in flight. It lifts off the water very easily in flight, with rapid and frequent wing beats.
It is an omnivorous species. During the nesting period, food is predominantly small invertebrates such as molluscs, crustaceans, adult insects and their larvae. Sometimes they also eat amphibians or smaller fish. In winter it also feeds on aquatic plant seeds and plant debris, frequently coming out of the water to graze or collect seeds from farmland. It is very noisy, especially in flight. During nesting it is active during the day, but in passage and in winter it has a crepuscular or even nocturnal activity.
Nesting habitats are shallow, permanent waters with dense vegetation. Pairs form as early as winter, arriving together in the nesting territory from April. The nest is built on the ground in dense vegetation near the water as a small hollow in the ground, lined with ivy and leaves. The female lays a single clutch per year, consisting of 8-11 greenish-yellow eggs. The male participates very little in raising the young. Brooding lasts 21-23 days, with the young being brooded and following the female into the water a few hours after hatching. They are dependent on the female for 25-30 days, then begin to fly.

Threats and conservation measures

Threats to lesser spotted duck may include habitat loss and alteration, pollution and management
management, hunting.
It is recommended to respect restrictions in riparian and coastal areas, maintain wetland vegetation at an ecologically optimal level, manage waste and wastewater in the area of important habitats for the species, use selective and low toxicity agrochemicals, avoid the use of treated seeds in the vicinity of wetlands, manage water levels in reservoirs according to the needs of the species, creating islands to reduce the risk of predation and to help the species breed in artificial or semi-natural wetlands, banning hunting and poaching, limiting the use of fishing nets to prevent birds from being accidentally caught, inventorying breeding areas, identifying important migration, feeding and crowding areas for the species, promoting studies on the biology of the species.


  • Fântână Ciprian, Kovács Istvan, Benkő Zoltán, Daròczi Szilárd, Domșa Cristian, Veres-Szászka Judit (editori), 2022, Atlas al speciilor de păsări de interes comunitar din România, ediția a II-a – Iubește păsările, salvează natura!, Proiect finanțat din Fondul European de Dezvoltare Regională prin Programul Operațional Infrastructură Mare 2014-2020, Ministerul Mediului, Apelor și Pădurilor- Direcția Biodiversitate, coordonare științifică Societatea Ornitologică Română și Asociația pentru Protecția Păsărilor și a Naturii Grupul Milvus, produs de EXCLUS PROD SRL, p. 30-31;
  • Svensson (text și hărți), 2017, Ghid pentru identificarea păsărilor. Europa și zona mediteraneană, traducerea și adaptarea în limba română: Societatea Ornitologică română, Emanuel Ștefan Baltag, Sebastian Bugariu, Alida Barbu, p.28;
  • Radu Dimitrie, 1983, Mic atlas ornitologic – Păsările lumii, Editura Albatros, București, p. 75;
  • https://pasaridinromania.sor.ro/ Ornitodata | Raţă mică (sor.ro)
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