Yellow-billed teal

Chileense taling of Geelsnaveltaling

Yellow-billed teal (Anas flavirostris flavirostris)

The Yellow-billed teal (Anas flavirostris flavirostris) is a dabbling duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
Chileense taling of Geelsnaveltaling
English name:
Yellow-billed teal or Chilean teal
German name:
French name:
Sarcelle tachetée ou Sarcelle à bec jaune
Scientific name:
Anas flavirostris flavirostris

Scientific classification




Speckled teals vary in size, shape, and color, depending on age, sex and subspecies. Anas flavirostris is a relatively small duck. Its colors are more subdued. Speckled teals generally have dark colored spots on the neck and breasts that extend towards anterior regions of their bodies. They have tan to brown feathers with black tips. Bill coloration with these two subspecies is dark to light yellow. 

Are Smaller But look like the males But, less colorful .Bill Dull Yellow.

Less colored than males or females. But more diffuse spotting on the breast and flanks, extending short way onto the belly. Wing lacks much green on speculum. Bill dull yellow males get brighter before their first breeding season. Acquires adult plumage thru their first winter.

Differences in appearance among subspecies are as follows: Anas flavirostris altipetens displays a grayish-brown, densely peppered head and neck. Hence, the name "speckled". The scapulars, which are the shoulders of the duck, are black with lighter colored edges. Anas flavirostris oxyptera has a much paler head relative to other subspecies, but similar speckle patterning. Bills of A. flavirostrisflavirostris and A. flavirostris oxyptera are mainly yellow.


The behaviors of speckled teals are similar to that of other teal species. Preening behind the wing occurs in both male and female birds. Pre-flight head shaking and jerking is performed, and they are known to be very fast fliers. In winter months, speckled teals are known to stay in breeding pairs but this behavior is thought to be for safety reasons and not for courtship purposes. Displays of greeting gestures occur anytime that both male and females are present. In captivity, these birds show little fear of humans and tend to do very well. 

Communication is common between male and female speckled teals, but it typically takes the form of mating displays or rituals. Agnostic behavior occurs between males and is usually competitive, although these displays have multiple purposes. Generally, A. flavirostris is not territorial. Instead, if both males and females are present, displays may be used to ward off potential competition from other males and to attract potential mates.

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Yellow-billed teal measures approximately 35-45 centimeters. The female measures approximately 35-45 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 600-830 gram. The female will weight about 565-795 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

There are two subspecies:

  • Anas flavirostris flavirostris - Yellow-billed Teal, Speckled Teal or Chilean Teal - Nominate Race
  • Anas flavirostris oxyptera - Sharp-winged Teal or Sharp winged Speckled Teal

Speckled teal (Chilean teal) are generally winter-hardy; they may be kept on ice-free water, or shelter should be provided. They are suitable for mixed collections with other small ducks. Easy to manage, these ducks are more active at night. Feed as other dabbling ducks: wheat, pellets, greenfood, bread.

Easy to breed, raised nest boxes should be provided as well as close cover and ground-level boxes. They may lay as early as end of March in UK, starting in May in central Europe. These ducks may lay second and even third clutch if eggs removed, will also brood reliably if left; drake assists with rearing. Ducklings are simple to rear.

Frequent hybridisation reported with Common teal (Anas crecca); also ; also hybrids with other Anas species and with Wood duck (Aix sponsa).

The female Yellow-billed teal usually lays from 5-8 creamy to yellowish buff eggs and incubates them for 24-26 days.

Bird banding:
Recommended leg band size for the Yellow-billed teal is 9 mm.
The leg band can only be applied on a young dabbling duck at around 11-12 days old.

It doesn't matter what leg that you band, but it is good to have a consistent system.
Suggested: Left leg = Female, Right leg = Male
Preferred food:
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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 Yellow-billed teal

Videos of the Yellow-billed teal