Fresh feath­ers

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - WILD OCTOBER -

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

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