New Zealand brown teal

Nieuw-zeelandse bruine taling

New Zealand brown teal (Anas chlorotis)

The New Zealand brown teal (Anas chlorotis) is a dabbling duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
Nieuw-zeelandse bruine taling
English name:
New Zealand brown teal
German name:
French name:
Sarcelle brune de Nouvelle-Zélande
Scientific name:
Anas chlorotis

Scientific classification




In breeding plumage the male will display a chestnut colored breast, a greenish coloured head, and invariably display a distinctive, mallard-like, white stripe on each side of their flank. Some will display a white clerical neck band and some males tend to be more colourful than others, with a few occasionally resembling the spectacular colors of a Chestnut teal (Anas castanea) male. 
Both sexes have a black iris, a green tending to black speculum, with a thin white wing-bar, and both have grey slate colored legs and feet.

EclipseSimilar to female, but with whitish patch on sides of ventral region.

Similar to male but duller, plumage all dark brown with paler feather edges. No green gloss on head, narrower white eye-ring, no white neck-ring; wing similar to male.

Similar to female; male may have dark spots on breast and whitish patches on sides of ventral region.



Highly aggressive during the breeding season, fight to defend territories, but gregarious outside breeding season, gathering in flocks of a few hundred birds at communal roosts. Aggressive even to larger birds such as Paradise shelduck (Tadorna variegata) and Black swan (Cygnus atratus). Strong, persistent pair bonds, possibly life-long, may separate in flocks after breeding season but bonds renewed during autumn

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the New Zealand brown teal measures approximately 43-48 centimeters. The female measures approximately 36-48 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 615-730 gram. The female will weight about 530-700 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.

Brown teal are very territorial and aggressive during the breeding season, attacking other birds, even species larger than themselves, although not geese or swans. 

The best breeding results have resulted if birds have been allowed to choose their own mates; pair bonds are strong once formed. Pairs should be isolated in small enclosures with abundant ground-level vegetation to provide concealed nesting sites near water, also a choice of ground-level and raised nest boxes should be provided. Fully covered aviaries, allowing fully-flighted birds, are recommended, and a pond, a muddy area for dabbling and perching platforms should also be provided. 

Eggs may be left with parents or incubated by a foster (e.g. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) or Pacific black duck (Anas superciliosa)) or in an artificial incubator. They may re-lay if the clutch is removed, even laying several clutches; may also re-lay if allowed to hatch and rear but ducklings removed when about three-quarters grown. 


The female New Zealand brown teal usually lays from 5-6 dark cream, cream-brown to cream-tan eggs and incubates them for 27-30 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 27-30 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 New Zealand brown 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
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 New Zealand brown teal