Teal crackling duck

In the family of ducks there is such a bird as a teal-cracker. Outwardly, it is a small bird with a specific voice, the sound of which is like a crackle. For this, the bird got its name.

Teal Cracker

Distinctive external features

Cracker is a rather small duck, which can be noted in the photo, the teal-cracker is similar in description to the widespread waterfowl. In length, it grows no more than 40-41 cm, its wingspan reaches 69 cm. The weight of a teal-cracker ranges from 0.29 to 0.48 kg.

The teal-cracker is very reminiscent of its relative, in which even a similar name is a whistle. In order not to be confused, you should pay attention to the distinctive features of the breed.

Bright distinctive external features of males have:

  • during the mating season they are distinguished by a white stripe of sufficient width extending above the eyeball, which is clearly visible on a common brown background and is easily recognizable in the field environment,
  • the teal has a head covered with dark brown feathers on top, the sides of the body in the same color,
  • the plumage of the chest and cervical spine is colored in chocolate and is interwoven with longitudinal white streaks, the rest of the body is gray with an olive tint,
  • tail feathers are brown,
  • the sides are painted gray with a gray, diluted black flowing pattern,
  • white abdomen and undertail, intersected transversely by variegated feathers.

A teal crackler in flight is distinguished by a gleaming green mirror on its wings.

A similar color has a subspecies whistle. However, the cracker is larger compared to it.

The female teal crackler in the photo is distinguished by a dimmer coloration of bluish-blue tones with spots on the wings. Unlike males, the duck does not change its plumage and remains monotonous throughout the entire period: brown in the upper part and motley-white from the bottom.

From other representatives of teal, the duck-cracker is distinguished by a plain white chin and neck. The young generation of the species of crackers, regardless of gender, is distinguished by red plumage on the chest and sides and bright motley on the abdomen.

Geography of residence

You can see crackling teal in Eurasian temperate latitudes, starting from the islands of Britain, ending with Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. Nesting of crackers was recorded in the west and south of France. The northern border of bird habitat runs through Scandinavia and Finland to the White Sea and the Pechora River Valley. Representatives of teal can be found on the shores of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk. They build their homes in Switzerland and Croatia, in the Balkans and in Bulgaria, were noted in the central Turkish region, in Azerbaijan, the center of Kazakhstan, as well as in China and Mongolia.

The temperate climate of taiga and semi-desert, steppes and mixed forests is suitable for these birds. They nest on small lakes with growing reed and sedge vegetation. In winter, they prefer to live on flood rice fields, close to dams with sewage. Often stop on vacation on the seashores and bays.

The winter cracker completely flies away from its habitat, moving south, preferring west or east of Africa. Large clusters of ducks were recorded in the swamps of the White Nile in Kenya, on the southern side of Uganda and a little in Tanzania. Only selected crackers reach Zambia, some winters in Pakistan and India. Eastern ducks migrate to the south of China.

Traits

Its name was given to the teal cracker, thanks to a special cry of males. The sounds of ducks resemble dry crackling cracker type “crere-crerere”. In everyday life, such a crackling sound can be obtained by combing the teeth of a hairdresser. Male crackling teal make their own unique sounds not only being on the ground or water, they crack as well while in the air.

For females, such a voice is unusual, they are more silent, only sometimes you can hear their sonorous and high-pitched quacking.

The Teal Cracker is a migratory bird that travels to the African tropics and the Asian Southeast for wintering. At the same time, it forms swarms of rather large sizes, located in river deltas and on swamps. These ducks return later than other duck representatives, and fly away much earlier. Open water bodies near meadows prefer birds for nesting.

Crackers adapt well to captive conditions and are able to breed in zoos and bird nurseries.

Nutrition and breeding conditions

In the mating season and during breeding in spring and summer, ducks of the common species prefer to eat mollusks, being more animal-eating. Their diet includes various insects and larvae living on water (for example, water bugs, mosquitoes), small invertebrates, crustaceans. They can be enjoyed by fish fry and tadpoles. Among plant foods in the autumn-winter period, crackers include on the menu herbal shoots and seeds, sedge, wild rice, sorrel.

The teal-cracker is a monogamen, selects one partner for reproduction.

Crackers reach maturity by the age of one year, and they move to the breeding site in March already in formed pairs. Mating courtship, the drake begins by swimming in circles around the female with her beak lowered into the water column and feathers ruffled on her head, giving her unique voice.

The nest of teal crackers looks like a shallow hole at a distance of up to 150 m from the water, covered with thickets and tall grass. Inside, it is lined with dead wood and down. Oviposition of cracking teal usually includes up to 9 eggs of elongated oval shape (sometimes it can be from 6 to 14), which the female incubates for 3 weeks. Hatched chicks stand on the wing and begin to fly after 40 days.

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