Identification: The drake has a grey body, dark head and white line along the body like a male Wigeon but the Teal is much smaller and with an obvious yellow, almost white, triangular patch at the rear end. The female often has to be identified by her small size and plain grey bill but look out for the green patch in the speculum and the pale line along the edge of the tail. In flight, Teal are fast and agile, their small size, dark body and pointed wings making them appear almost like waders. Many books recommend the green speculum (that's the coloured panel in the secondaries) as the best field mark but, more realistically, look for a short but broad white line across the inner wing, more conspicuous than on any other British duck.
Habitat: Breeds on moorland lakes and pools with well vegetated margins. Winters on reservoirs, pools, estuaries and marshes.
Distribution: Fairly common breeder in Scotland and the north, but thinly distributed elsewhere. Large numbers winter in most wetlands. The American race A.c.carolinensis is an annual vagrant.
A widespead breeding bird in northern Europe, occuring in large numbers at many estuaries and marshes in winter.
Population: The British breeding population is estimated at between 1 500-2 500 pairs, with 675 pairs in Ireland. A minimum wintering population is estimated to be at around 135800 birds.
More than a million birds winter in north-west Europe. European breeding population about 350,000 pairs. Russian population 775000-1170000 Turkish population 100-1000