Cape Teal

Kaapse taling

Cape Teal (Anas capensis)

The Cape Teal (Anas capensis) is a dabbling duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
Kaapse taling
English name:
Cape Teal
German name:
French name:
Canard du Cap ou Sarcelle du Cap
Scientific name:
Anas capensis

Scientific classification




Head and Neck pale buff white finely flecked brown, very slightly darker area around and behind eye. Slight shaggy crest and nape mane. Lower part of cheeks, throat and foreneck a little paler. Breast and flanks; belly and vent lightly marked, if at all, but under tail-converts more obviously spotted. Mantle and upper back Dark Brown, feathers with rufous-buff edgings; scapulars grey-brown edged pink buff, tertails black and grey; lower back, rump and upper tail-coverts dark brown to blackish, barred buff. Tail dark grey, edged buff. Outermost seconderies white, inner ones iridescent green and black, forming speculum, broadly boarded white in front and behind, while primaries dark grey -brown and forewing slightly paler; underwing grey, with white axillaries and white-edged grey converts. Bill rosy -pink, becoming lilac or even blue at the tip; nail whitish; side is of nostrils and round base black. Legs and feet dull yellow-brown.

Lacks crest and nape mane, and with fewer but boarder markings on breast, having more spotted, less barred appearance. Tertails browner, less black. 

Less barring and spotting on upperparts, while underparts, appear much paler and only slightly spotted. Tertails shorter, and wing initially with little green iridescence. 


Usually found as pairs or family groups, but sometimes form flocks for the moult. Pair bonds strong and may be permanent. Cape teals nest as solitary pairs.

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Cape Teal measures approximately 44-48 centimeters. The female measures approximately 44-48 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 350-505 gram. The female will weight about 315-450 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

Dabbling Ducks are generally hardy, easy to maintain and easy to breed. Shelter may be required by some of the smaller species in winter. They should be provided with cover (including marginal pond cover) and loafing areas as well as water. A pen which is 50% water is suggested. The water may be shallow (i.e. no more than two feet deep is required), and muddy areas for dabbling in are also appreciated. These ducks are generally good in mixed collections, although the smaller and quieter species may be bullied. Territorial disputes between ducks of the same species may be avoided by keeping only one pair of each species in an enclosure, unless the area is very large. For a single pair of ducks a pen are of 50 to 100 square metres, depending on the size of duck, should be provided.

A diet based on wheat and pellets is suggested, with maintenance pellets changed to breeders pellets for the breeding season. Bread and greenfood are also appreciated. Grit should always be available, with soluble grit (e.g. oystershell grit) as a calcium source when breeding.

Most species are ground nesters and both close ground cover and ground level nest boxes should be provided. Hand-rearing is generally preferred, as these ducks are generally poor parents in captive conditions, particularly in enclosures shared with other waterfowl. These ducks are prone to hybridization, particularly with closely related species, which should be kept apart from one another.

Cape teal are generally considered winter-hardy, but may require a dry, drought-proof shelter in cold climates, perhaps even slight heating in prolonged frost. They are suitable for mixed collections with other small ducks, although they can be aggressive and territorial in breeding season. Feed as other ducks (grain, pellets, green food, bread).

Cape teal are not difficult to breed and may produce two or three clutches of eggs in one year. The laying season is variable in Europe, may be from February to June. They may use natural cover, ground level nestbox or a raised nestbox, within 5-6 metres of water. Artificial incubation and hand rearing is straightforward, with sufficient heat.

Hybridisation occurs occasionally with some Anas spp., and also has been reported with Brazilian teal (Amazonetta brasiliensis) and Tufted duck (Aythya fuligula).


The female Cape Teal usually lays from 6-11 pale to deep cream eggs and incubates them for 26-30 days.

Artificial incubating:

The ideal relative humidity for incubating most waterfowl eggs is 55% (ground nesters) and 40% (cavity nesters). The temperature is usually 37.4°C. Set ventilation as recommended by the incubator manufacturer. Eggs must be turned, either automatically or by hand, a minimum of 4 times a day. As the duckling develops there is a loss of water from the egg and the air sac gets bigger. In normal development of an egg with a 26-30 days incubation, the air sac occupies about a third of it three days earlier. Cleanliness is vital and ideally eggs should be moved to a separate hatcher at this point, where the humidity should be increased to 65% and even higher once they have pipped internally.

Bird banding:
Recommended closed leg band ring size for the Cape Teal is 9 mm.
The leg band ring can only be applied on a young dabbling duck at around 10-11 days old.

It doesn't matter what leg that you band, but it's good to have a consistent system.
Suggested: Left leg = Female, Right leg = Male
Lundi Micro Regular
Lundi Micro Regular
Lundi Micro Regular

Floatable special rearing feed for all types of aquatic ornamental fowl - especially for the cultivation of trees as well as greening ducks.

This well-balanced complete feed with 20% protein content convinces above all by its good compatibility and forms the basis for visibly healthy growth from day one.

Made exclusively from wholesome and selected raw materials, Lundi Micro Regular is also ideally suited for the year-round feeding of waterfowl.

Maintenance food:
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular

Lundi Regular with a protein content of 20%, valuable Spirulina and high-quality by-products is optimally balanced in its composition maintenance food for water ornamental fowl of all kinds. Especially green teal and Whistling ducks that are not dependent on a very high protein content, are well supplied.

Lundi Regular contains all the minerals and vitamins in full form that are important for the animals. Therefore also suitable as breeding food.

Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium

Floating full food for all sea ducks, green ducks, eider ducks and geese, especially in the moulting and breeding phase ideally suited. Packed with wholesome raw materials, natural vitamins and trace elements, this performance food with a protein content of 30% forms the basis for lifelong vitality.

Photos of the Cape Teal