Grey Teal

Quick Facts

Length: 44 cm
Height: -
Weight: -
Colour: -
Habitat: Prefer timbered pools and inland river systems, but can be found in sheltered water areas - these include fresh, brackish and salt water.
Food: Variety of dry land plants, aquatic plants, seeds, crustaceans, insects and their larvae
Predators: -
Status: Secure in all states and territories
Grey Teal

The Grey Teal is almost all grey-brown. Each feather of the body is edged with buff, except on the rump. The chin and throat are white, the bill is dark green and the eye is red. The secondary wing feathers have glossy blue-black patch, broadly bordered and tipped with white. In flight, a large white wedge is visible on the underwing. The Grey Teal is one of the smaller Australian ducks (males are larger than females). Both sexes are similar in plumage.

The Grey Teal is sometimes confused with the female Chestnut Teal. The Chestnut Teal has the chin and throat pale brown, instead of white. The male Chestnut Teal is quite different in plumage, being mostly chestnut below, dark brown above and with a glossed green head and neck. The two species overlap in range and often mix together where they meet.

Grey Teals are found throughout Australia

Grey Teals are common in all sheltered watered areas. These include fresh, brackish and salt water, and the birds can be found on the smallest area of water in the driest of areas. The most favoured habitat type is timbered pools and river systems of the inland areas, where these birds can be found in quite large numbers.

During periods of drought, Grey Teal are very mobile in search of water, often travelling great distances.

Grey Teals feed in small to large flocks. Food consists of a variety of types and includes dry land plants, aquatic plants, seeds, crustaceans, and insects and their larvae. Feeding methods are also varied. Birds may dabble (filter surface water or mud through the bill), upend and feed from the bottom, or graze from the surface of the water on plant material.

Grey Teals may breed when there is available food and waterways are suitable. Taking advantage of this opportunistic breeding style, birds lay soon after suitable conditions arrive and may raise several broods while the conditions remain favourable. If conditions are not suitable, birds may not breed at all in a year. Most breeding takes place around inland waterways, and nests may be placed on the ground, in rabbit burrows or in tree hollows. The birds normally lay their eggs on the bare floor of the nest site, which are then covered with down (feathers).

Author: Rosalyn Plunkett
Last Updated: Friday 6th September, 2013
BirdLife Australia -


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