Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Green-winged Teal - Anas crecca
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General Comments As with the Northern Pintail, many thousands of Green-winged Teals winter in our coastal region, especially at refuges; however, it does winter nearly statewide, if in small numbers in the western portions. Like most other puddle ducks, it favors proximity to cover -- inhabiting freshwater ponds, lakes, and impoundments, usually not far from marshes. The taxonomy, including the common name, of Anas crecca has been in flux for decades. Decades ago, the Eurasian subspecies (A. crecca crecca) was considered as a separate species -- the Common Teal. The American form was considered as Anas carolinensis, the Green-winged Teal. They have been merged since the 1960's. However, the full species is typically named Common Teal by those in Europe. There has been some discussion about a re-splitting of the two forms as full species, and some authors do this. Considering that the behavior of the two forms seems to be identical, and the primary difference is in male plumage coloration, such a split would be controversial.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank S5N
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Winter resident, common to locally abundant in the northern coastal and Tidewater areas, particularly at refuges such as Pea Island, Mattamuskeet, and Alligator River. Uncommon to locally common along the southern half of the coast. Mostly uncommon to locally fairly common inland. Generally late Aug to late Apr. Peak counts: 33,678, Mattamuskeet NWR CBC, 29 Dec 2019.

"Common Teal" -- Rare winter visitor (with over 33 records), 25 Nov to 3 Apr; mainly in the northern coast and Tidewater regions, where almost always found within large flocks of Green-winged Teal. Casual to the southern coast (three records) and inland (one record: 10 Feb - 7 Mar 1988, Goldsboro). Peak counts: 3, Bodie/Pea islands, 30 Jan 1988; two, on two dates.

Piedmont Uncommon winter resident/visitor over most of the region; locally fairly common, but seldom common. Mostly late Sep into Apr. Peak counts: 1,773, Pee Dee NWR CBC, 4 Jan 2003.

"Common Teal" -- two records: 10 Jan 1999, Greenview Farm near Raleigh, and 11 Dec 1999, Pee Dee NWR (Anson).

Mountains Rare to locally uncommon winter visitor; mostly found in lower elevations (below 3,000 feet). Late Sep to late Apr. Peak counts:

"Common Teal" -- no records.

Finding Tips Numbers in the hundreds to several thousands can often be found at refuges such as Alligator River, Mattamuskeet, and Pea Island. However, it can be difficult to find at some coastal areas in southern NC. If you are intent of finding a "Common" Teal, search large flocks of Green-winged Teals at coastal impoundments such as North Pond at Pea Island in November.
Attribution LeGrand[2023-03-01], LeGrand[2020-04-17], LeGrand[2019-07-31]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
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