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Tete - grey teal - Anas gracilis | by Steve Attwood
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Tete - grey teal - Anas gracilis

Photographed on Kaiapoi Lakes.

The grey teal is a small dabbling duck that frequents shallow freshwater lakes. The bird is extremely nomadic. This nomadic way of life enables the bird to quickly exploit shallow temporary water during irregular flooding in the interior of Australia. The grey teal was self-introduced to New Zealand from Australia from irregular irruptions. The last major irruption occurred in 1957 following drought conditions in Australia. Pair-bonds appear to be retained from one season to the next.

The grey teal is small, slim, ‘plain-faced’ duck, considerably smaller than a mallard or grey duck. It is mostly grey-brown in colour with a pale cheeks, chin and throat. The eye is bright crimson, especially in adult males, and the bill is dark grey. Immature birds have a duller red eye. Wings are dark brown with the primaries darker brown, a broad green speculum on the secondaries, and a white stripe on the inner wing, just in front of the speculum. The underwing is off-white. Grey teal can be identified in flight by the white flash on the upperwing and the fast wing beat, although both are identical in the vagrant chestnut teal -


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Taken on July 13, 2014