The Ringed Teal (Callonetta leucophrys) is a small, attractive duck native to South America. It is particularly known for its striking plumage, with males displaying a rich chestnut back, pale gray sides, and a distinctive white ring around the eye. Females are more subdued in color, featuring mainly brownish tones with mottled patterns. Both sexes have a characteristic vertical white stripe on the wing, visible in flight.


This species is one of the smallest in the duck family, distinct from larger waterfowl. Ringed Teals prefer slow-moving or still waters, often found in marshes, ponds, and slow rivers. They are notable for their gentle temperament and are often seen in pairs or small groups. Ringed Teals are known for perching in trees, unlike many other duck species, utilizing their sharp claws.


In the wild, these birds are fairly adaptable but are sensitive to habitat destruction and pollution. They have become popular in aviculture due to their manageable size and striking appearance. Efforts to conserve their natural habitats are crucial for their continued survival in the wild, as they play an important role in their ecosystems.



Physical Description:

Ringed Teals are small and elegantly proportioned ducks. Males are particularly striking, with a chestnut back, gray flanks, and a bold white ring around the eye, which gives the species its name. The underparts of males are lighter, and they possess a blue beak. Conversely, females are more hidden with mottled brown plumage, which provides excellent cover in their natural habitat.

Both sexes display a unique vertical white stripe on the wing, a feature that is most visible during flight. The birds have a compact body shape with a relatively short tail. Their legs are set far back on the body, aiding in swimming. Ringed Teals also have sharp claws, which are an adaptation for perching in trees, a behavior unusual for ducks.

Lifespan: Wild: ~10 Years || Captivity: ~15 Years

Weight: Male: 0.77 lbs (350 g) || Female: 0.66 lbs (300 g)

Length: Male: 14.5-15.5 inches (37-39 cm) || Female: 13.5-14.5 inches (34-37 cm)

Wingspan: Male & Female: 20-22 inches (51-56 cm)

Top Speed: 30 mph (48 km/h)

Native Habitat:

The Ringed Teal is native to the subtropical areas of South America. They are commonly found in the lowlands and on the edges of freshwater marshes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers. These environments provide the dense vegetation cover these ducks prefer for nesting and protection from predators.

Their habitat choice reflects their need for water and tree cover. Ringed Teals are unique among ducks for their tree-perching habit. They often nest in tree holes or dense vegetation near water bodies, providing both safety and proximity to their feeding areas.

Climate Zones:
Biogeographical Realms:

Diet & Feeding Habits:

Ringed Teals are omnivorous, with a diet that includes a variety of aquatic plants, seeds, and small invertebrates. In the wild, they forage in shallow waters, often dabbling at the surface or upending to reach food underwater. Their diet varies seasonally, depending on the availability of different food sources.

In captivity, these ducks are often fed a diet of grains, greens, and specialized waterfowl feed. They are known for being opportunistic feeders, adapting well to the food available in their environment. This adaptability in feeding habits has helped them survive in varying conditions. Ringed Teals also require clean, fresh water for drinking and bathing, which is crucial for their health and well-being.

Mating Behavior:

Mating Description:

Ringed Teals are monogamous, typically forming long-term pair bonds. The courtship process involves a series of displays and calls, with the male showing off his colorful plumage to attract a mate. Vocalizations often accompany these displays and can be quite elaborate.

Nesting usually occurs in tree cavities or dense vegetation near water. The female lays a clutch of 6 to 12 eggs, which she incubates for about 25 days. During this time, the male stays nearby to protect the nest. The ducklings are precocial, relatively mature and mobile shortly after hatching.

Reproduction Season:

Birth Type:

Pregnancy Duration:

~25 Days (Incubation)

Female Name:


Male Name:


Baby Name:


Social Structure Description:

Ringed Teals are relatively social, often seen in pairs or small groups. They exhibit strong pair bonds, especially during the breeding season. Outside the breeding season, they may gather in larger flocks, particularly in areas with abundant food sources.

Their social interactions include a range of vocalizations and body language. These ducks are generally peaceful and are known for their quiet, gentle demeanor. In captivity, they are often kept with other waterfowl species due to their non-aggressive nature.


Conservation Status:
Population Trend:


Wild: Unknown || Captivity: Unknown


The Ringed Teal is currently classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN, indicating a stable population in the wild. This status is due to their wide distribution and adaptability to various habitats. However, like many waterfowl species, they face habitat loss and threats of environmental degradation.

In their native range, the populations appear stable with no significant signs of decline. They are often found in remote areas, which provides some protection from human activities. However, ongoing conservation efforts are essential to preserve their habitats, especially in regions undergoing agricultural expansion and urbanization.

Population Threats:

The primary threats to Ringed Teals include habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change. Wetland drainage and deforestation for agriculture and urban development reduce their natural habitats. Pollution of water bodies, especially from agricultural runoff, can negatively impact their food sources and breeding grounds.

Climate change poses a long-term threat by altering the ecosystems where they live. Changes in rainfall patterns and temperatures can affect the availability of suitable habitats and food resources. Despite their adaptability, these environmental changes could significantly impact their populations.

Conservation Efforts:

Conservation efforts for the Ringed Teal include habitat protection and environmental regulations. Preserving wetlands and forested areas in their range is crucial for maintaining healthy populations. Environmental laws and regulations that limit pollution and destructive land use practices also benefit this species.

In addition to habitat protection, education and awareness programs are important. These programs help local communities understand the importance of wetlands and the species that inhabit them. Aviculture programs have also played a role in raising awareness about these ducks and their conservation needs.

Additional Resources:

Fun Facts

  • Ringed Teals are adept at perching in trees, a unique behavior among ducks.
  • They are one of the smallest species in the duck family.
  • The males’ colorful plumage and the females’ mottled brown provide excellent camouflage in their respective roles.
  • These ducks are popular in aviculture due to their beauty and manageable size.
  • Ringed Teals have a relatively gentle and quiet temperament compared to other ducks.
  • They can fly up to 30 mph (48 km/h).
  • The species is known for its adaptability to different types of wetland habitats.
  • Ringed Teals play an important role in their ecosystems as predators and prey.
  • They have a relatively long lifespan for a small duck, living up to 12 years in the wild.
  • Ringed Teals’ conservation efforts focus mainly on habitat preservation and pollution control.