Chestnut Teal Video Transcript
Chestnut Teal are not inland birds. They prefer the brackish swamps and saltwater inlets of southern Australia, particularly Tasmania.
The male Chestnut Teal is the only native Australian duck with a green head and neck. At a distance though, the green colour often appears very dark or black. The body plumage of males is a deep chestnut colour. On the other hand, female Chestnut Teal have a plain appearance. They are much like Grey Teal but their body plumage is slightly deeper in colour.
Here are both species together. The Grey Teal is on the left. The female Chestnut Teal is on the right. On the upperwing of male Chestnut Teal, there's a patch of white feathers. The female has a similar white wing patch. Keep in mind that the wing patches of Chestnut Teal and Grey Teal are almost the same.
Notice the white flank patch on this male Chestnut Teal. Females don't have such a mark, which makes them difficult to distinguish from Grey Teal in flight. But when you spot a male Chestnut Teal, you can be fairly sure that any plain companions will be females. The iridescent green head of the male Chestnut Teal is sometimes very obvious, but even if you can't see any green, the dark head and chestnut-coloured front tell you that it's a male.
Chestnut Teal are darker and slightly bigger than Grey Teal. Female Chestnut Teal however can easily be mistaken for Grey Teal, although they are darker in colour, especially on the face. The white feathers on the male's flank show up well on the water and in flight.
The wing patterns of Chestnut Teal are almost the same as Grey Teal but the white patch on the flank is a sure way to tell a male Chestnut in flight. The Teal wing patterns are easy to see and so is the male's flank patch. On the water they appear as very dark birds.
In coastal areas, Chestnut Teal are often fairly common and large flocks travel about together. The calls are similar to those of Grey Teal. Watch the wing pattern. Note the dark head and again the white wing patches above and below the wings. Chestnut Teal are less common inland but they do turn up sometimes and often travel with other birds.
In the air, look for the Teal wing pattern, a white patch under the wing and a white stripe on the upperwing. The male Chestnut has a white flank patch and a dark green head.
If you're hunting near the coast, you will certainly come across these birds. In good light you should have little trouble picking up the dark head and white flanks of the males. On the water, it's a bit easier. Chestnuts are darker and slightly bigger than Grey Teal.You need to remember that Chestnut Teal are not game birds in all states. It's a rare duck in Queensland and the Northern Territory.