Cinnamon Teal

Range Map
Spatula cyanoptera

The Cinnamon Teal lives year-round (i.e. is resident) throughout western California, but breeds in most of the western USA. These birds are uncommon breeders east of the Rocky Mountains. Most spend winters in Mexico or in the USA close to the border. Some remain in the western half of California year-round. There is also a breeding population in western South America extending south through the Pantanal to Tierra del Fuego.

Most ducks show a noticeable contrasting plumage between males and females, called sexual dimorphism, but few are so dramatically different as the Cinnamon Teals. When autumn comes and breeding season has passed, the males shed their richly colored plumage and take on a subdued coloring, more closely resembling the females and their immature offspring.

Taxonomists recognise five subspecies of Cinnamon Teal:

  • A. c. septentrionalium breeds from southern British Columbia and Alberta south through the western USA to northern Mexico. They spend winters from the southwestern USA south through Central America to northern South America.
  • A. c. tropica lives in the lowlands of Colombia (South America).
  • A. c. borreroi lives on the eastern slopes of the Colombian Andes (South America).
  • A. c. orinomus lives in the Andes from central Peru south to northern Chile (South America).
  • A. c. cyanoptera lives in the lowlands of southwestern South America from Peru through Chile, Argentina, and on the Falkland Islands.

I’ve been lucky enough to find these ducks during my expeditions throughout the western USA, including California, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.

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