Ringed Teal (Callonetta leucophrys)

Ringed Teal

[order] ANSERIFORMES | [family] Anatidae | [latin] Callonetta leucophrys | [authority] Vieillot, 1816 | [UK] Ringed Teal | [FR] Callonette a collier noir | [DE] Rotschulter-Ente | [ES] Pato de Collar (Arg, Uy, Bo), Pato Acollarado | [NL] Ringtaling


Monotypic species


It has one species, initially placed as type genus in the “Cairininae” (or “Cairinini”), a supposed group of “perching ducks” which was somewhat intermediate between dabbling ducks and shelducks. However, this assemblage turned out to be paraphyletic, and the Cairina species were moved to the dabbling duck subfamily Anatinae, to which they seemed closest from the data available at that time. Analysis of the mtDNA sequences of the cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 genes (Johnson & Sorenson, 1999), meanwhile, has indicated that this is probably not correct, and that moreover the two species usually united in Cairina are not even closely related to each other, which is also suggested by the biogeography of their distribution: The Muscovy Duck seems a distant relative to the genus Aix which for example contains the North American Wood Duck. Together, they appear related to the shelducks and C. moschata would thus be placed in the Tadorninae.

Physical charateristics

Males are pale faced with black crown and hindneck, a white hip patch, gray barred flanks, blue bill, and pink legs. Females are patterned similarly overall with pale underparts barred brown and a brown face marked with pale stripes. Both sexes of Ringed Teal can be easily recognized in flight by a white greater covert patch and green secondaries.

Listen to the sound of Ringed Teal

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/ANSERIFORMES/Anatidae/sounds/Ringed Teal.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 35 cm size max.: 38 cm
incubation min.: 26 days incubation max.: 28 days
fledging min.: 45 days fledging max.: 60 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 6  
      eggs max.: 12  


South America : Southcentral. Ringed teals live in wetlands in South America from southern Bolivia, Paraguay, and southwestern Brazil, to northeastern Argentina and Uruguay.


They are found near secluded pools, small streams, swampy tropical forests, ponds, marshy clearings in low woodlands, and often in forested habitats.


Ringed teals, like other wood ducks form strong pair-bonds, although they are not necessarily life-long. The male exhibits preening as part of his courtship displays, in which he flashes the iridescent wing colors toward the female to attract her attention. The male also swims around the female in a figure- eight pattern while throwing his head back and whistling. Breeding takes place in the water. Almost all ringed teal nests are in holes or other tree cavities. The nest is lined with down and 6-12 eggs are laid. The incubation period is about 29 days. Both the male and female take turns incubating the eggs and caring for the young. Hatching is timed to
the weather and food availability, synchronizing with the best conditions. The chicks are precocial, meaning they are well developed when they are hatched. After hatching, the parents leave the nest. The ducklings follow sometimes making the leap from great heights. The chicks obtain oil for waterproofing their feathers by rubbing against their mother’s abdominal plumage. They are called from the nest a day or two after hatching. After tumbling out, they follow their mother. They eat on their own, taking aquatic vegetation and insects as demonstrated by the adults. They can fly some 50-55 days after hatching and follow the adults to the winter feeding grounds.

Feeding habits

The feeding habits of the ringed teal label them as ?puddle ducks?. They are surface feeders as opposed to diving ducks. They feed by dipping their head, neck and front of the body under water with the tail in the air. This behavior is called ?up-ending.? They maintain this position with foot action, grazing on submerged bottom plants. After dabbling, they flap their wings vigorously a few times to shake out any water that might have entered the wing pockets and other air spaces.

Video Ringed Teal


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Ringed Teal status Least Concern


Disperses after breeding, seen nearer coasts and at lower altitudes.

Distribution map

Ringed Teal distribution range map

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