Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Cinnamon Teal - Spatula cyanoptera
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General Comments The Cinnamon Teal is a stray to the Eastern states from the western half of the continent. As with the Eurasian Wigeon, females are so similar to another species, in this case the Blue-winged Teal, that practically all records refer to males in breeding or partial-breeding plumage. Its habitat is essentially the same as for Blue-winged Teal -- freshwater ponds and impoundments, usually not far from marshy cover. Though there are at least 14 state records, only three have come since 2001, suggesting a rangewide population decline in the species, as birding coverage of coastal areas in the state continues to increase.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SZ
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Casual to very rare visitor. At least 14 records, all but one of single birds, and just a few since 2001 (in Jan 2019 and May 2021). In the winter of 2012-13, a hybrid Cinnamon Teal x Blue-winged Teal and a "possible" Cinnamon Teal were reported at two sites in the northeastern part of the region. Dates range from 20 Oct to 22 Apr, with the exception of an apparent pair at Cape Hatteras Point (Dare) on 31 May 2021. Most are from the coastal area, but two records are from Tidewater: Goose Creek impoundments (Pamlico) and Lake Mattamuskeet. The only truly inland record is from Goldsboro (Wayne), 2 Dec 2000 to 31 Mar 2001.
Piedmont No records.
Mountains No records.
Finding Tips The species, of course, cannot be searched for in NC with any realistic hope of finding. However, the species is most likely to occur with Blue-winged Teals. Cinnamon Teal would be expected to occur in NC more often in fall migration; however, both species of teal are in drab eclipse plumage in fall. Thus, a Cinnamon Teal would be most likely to be identifiable as a male in breeding plumage, found with Blue-winged Teal in the Jan to Apr period, near the coast. Female Cinnamon Teals would be difficult to identify with reliability in NC.
Attribution LeGrand[2023-03-01], LeGrand[2021-08-30], LeGrand[2020-04-17]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.