Male ducks spend midsummer looking rather dowdy. Before moulting their allimportant wing feathers, which renders them flightless, the birds adopt a brown, female-like plumage known as ‘eclipse’ to hide them from foxes and other predators. But now their moult is complete and the drakes are once again resplendent. Male teal in fresh breeding colours are some of our most handsome wildfowl – bottlegreen eye patches provide a stunning contrast with chestnut-brown heads. They are also the smallest British ducks, weighing only a third or quarter as much as the much chunkier mallards.
Listen to a teal’s whistle at xeno-canto.org