Description: Roughly translated, the Latin name (Callonetta leucophrys) means “the beautiful duck with the white wing patches”. Male Ringed teals have a characteristic buff brown chest covered in speckles. The face is light brown with a dark brown hood. The flanks are slate gray and the underside and rump are white. Upper body is chestnut brown and the tail is black. A little green tips the wings. The bill is gray with a black tip. Female Ringed teals are barred with white and brown on the breast and flanks, shading to white underneath. The tail is black and the rump is white. Like males, females have a little green on the wing tip. The head is dark brown with a white stripe by the eyes and white cheeks with a brown center. Bills are beige with a black upper marking. Both sexes have orange feet.
Size: Ringed teals are one of the smallest ducks in the world. Adults measure 14-15 inches (35-38 cm) in length and generally weigh 11-12 ounces (311- 340 gr).
Behavior: Ringed teals have long toes and strong, pointed claws on their feet, which make it possible for them to perch in trees. They are surface feeders and use their coarse lamellae (plate of bony tissue in the bill) like teeth to cut vegetation. Generally they feed by immersing their head, neck and front of the body with the tail in the air. This behavior is known as dabbling. Although they are surface ducks, ringed teals can dive underwater to escape predators, although they seldom dive deeper than 3.5 feet (1 m).
Diet: These ducks feed mainly on water plants, seeds and some insects.
Communication: Males generally communicate using a soft, drawn-out whistle. Females use harsh quacking noises.
Reproduction: Nests are generally constructed in tree hollows or in disused stick nests. Clutches consist of five to twelve whitish eggs which are incubated 23-26 days. The male and female help incubate the eggs and care for the brood. Ducklings fledge 50-55 days after hatching and then follow adults to winter feeding grounds.
Habitat/range: Ringed teals inhabit swampy tropical forest areas and areas with plenty of tree cover. Secluded pools and small streams also make good habitats. They can be found from Bolivia and south Brazil to northern Argentina and Uruguay.
Status: Listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.