Sunday 7 December 2008

Teals part 2 (photo special)

Marbled teal
Marmaronetta angustirostris (Menetries, 1832)
Anatidae; Anseriformes; Aves; Chordata
London Wetland Centre
June 2006

Also called the marbled duck, this "teal" is not closely related to the others, being closer to the pochards (here and here). It is found in southern Europe and parts of western Asia.

The preceding illustration, titled Marbled Teal in Blue and Orange was created using MS Paint to "paint" over the original photo using either realistic colours (the teal) or eye-catching ones (the ripples in the water). I entered this, along with this to a Natural History Museum art competition earlier this year. Unfortunately, I couldn't go to the judging because I was convalescing after my operation; alas, I didn't win anyway.

Madagascar teal
Anas bernieri (Hartlaub, 1860)
Anatidae; Anseriformes; Aves; Chordata
London Zoo
August 2005

A small, sombre-coloured teal endemic to Madagascar. It is not as rare as the other Malagasy endemic, the Madagascar pochard (Aythya innotata) which was until recently considered extinct; it was then rediscovered on a remote lake.

Male ringed teal
Callonetta leucophrys (Vieillot, 1816)
Anatidae; Anseriformes; Aves; Chordata
London Wetland Centre
October 2008

Again, not a true teal, but a very pretty small duck from South America. Males look as pictured above, and again, females are duller.

Chestnut teals
Anas castanea (Eyton, 1838)
Anatidae; Anseriformes; Aves; Chordata
London Wetland Centre
December 2006

The Australian member of the teal clan, the chestnut teal is coloured as its name suggests, with the male also having green and white in his outfit, and females duller. Australia has some nice wildfowl, including the gorgeous black swan (Cygnus atratus) and aggressive and inquisitive magpie goose (Anseranas semipalmata). The exhibit at the London Wetland Centre for that country is a nice walkthrough with a large pool. The magpie geese hang out in a far corner usually, and I would not advise approaching them, as they do bite, one bit my shoe once!

Brown teal
Anas chlorotis Gray, 1845
Anatidae; Anseriformes; Aves; Chordata
London Wetland Centre
February 2006

New Zealand also has many endemics, including its own shoveler, shelduck and the teals. All are threatened, some more so than others, but all are brown, the males having a green sheen to the head.

I will come back to ducks at some point in the future, so stay tuned, anatophiles!

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