Chestnut Teal

Anas castanea

Chestnut Teal, male. Photo: John Spiers

The male Chestnut Teal in breeding dress is one of our most handsome waterfowl, particularly when the sun shines on his iridescent, bottle-green head.

Feeds by dabbling, upending and mud filtering in very shallow water. Like Grey Teal probably feeds on seeds and vegetation of shoreline vegetation, and small aquatic invertebrates.

Chestnut Teal, pair. Photo: Kevin Williams.



Breeding is in spring and early summer (as late as January on the Coorong). Nests on the ground amidst vegetation or in natural cavities such as tree hollows. Monogamous and probably forms life-long pair-bonds. If conditions favourable nay lay double or even triple broods.





In breeding plumage, the male sports an iridescent, bottle green head, a rich chestnut body, dark brown wings, and a black stern separated from the chestnut front by a vertical white flank mark. In non-breeding plumage males become a darker version of the female with fine mottling on the head. Females are brown at all times, with lighter edges to the feathers giving a scalloped appearance. Females are easily confused with Grey Teal of either sex. The latter are a paler brown and have a much whiter throat and neck. Both male and female Chestnut Teal have a red eye and grey-brown bill and feet. Inflight the underwing shows a white triangle in the ‘armpit’ and on the upperwing there is a white wing bar ahead of a green panel formed by the secondaries.

Where to find it

Chestnut Teal Are most common in brackish coastal lagoons, saltmarshes and estuaries, but may also be found inland on freshwater wetlands. They are less migratory than Grey Teal.