Green-winged teal are the smallest of the puddle ducks in the Central Flyway. They have a length 13-16 inches and have an average weight of ½ to 1 pound.The drake (male) is beautifully colored with a dark, reddish-brown head, a green streak over the eye, and a vertical white stripe on the side. The female is primarily brown. The speculum shows green in both sexes. Green-winged teal fly swiftly, often in small, tight flocks. Drakes whistle and have a tittering call; hens sound a faint quack.
Green-winged teal prefer small and shallow, but permanent, freshwater ponds, with thick cover nearby. They feed on small seeds of grasses, bulrushes and smartweeds, and on the stems and leaves of pondweeds. They also eat tiny mollusks, snails and other crustaceans.
A few green-winged teal may be found nesting in Texas, although the duck’s primary breeding range is farther north, into the Dakotas and up into Canada, the northwestern United States, and Alaska. Courting birds engage in much whistling and posturing.
Females hide their nests in dense patches of shrubs and weeds, or in tall grass at the edge of a lake or slough. They lay 8-10 eggs and incubate them 21-23 days. They vigorously defend their nest. Some green-winged teal occasionally winter in Pennsylvania, but most go farther south.