Cinnamon Teal: Small, Solid-colored Ducks

By Dave Hanks

This 11 inch duck has North American and South American populations and they are separate from each other. In North America this species is found in the west – especially around the Great Salt Lake and Malheur Basin. We also find them in the marshes south of Hill City, north of Idaho Falls, and in the canals in our area. Almost all Cinnamon Teal winter in Mexico and Central America. The Great Salt Lake is an important staging area.

It is a dabbling duck – feeding close to the water’s surface by submerging its head and raising its rear in the air. This duck favors shallow, alkaline wetlands surrounded by herbaceous cover. It feeds on aquatic plants, pondweed and rush seeds, and aquatic insects and mollusks. Nests are found in grassy areas or on islands. The female lays 8 to 10 eggs and like all baby ducks, the hatchlings are precocial.

This solid colored duck does have blue wing patches that are most visible when in flight. Its red eyes are characteristic of many water birds.

This is one of the more common ducks, and certainly the most common teal, that we run into on our photographic pursuits.

(Cinnamon contrasted against the blue)