THE Indian Cotton-Teal is the smallest of all the Indian Ducks, and is a widely distributed and well known bird. The drake has two regular moults in the year, one in spring, and one in autumn. In summer plumage the sexes are conspicuously different, but in the winter they resemble each other closely, the male, however, retaining the large white patch on the primaries, by which he may be known when flying. These Ducks have no brightly coloured speculum, but the conspicuous broad white tips to the secondaries form a feature in their plumage.
The bill in these small Ducks is very short, and narrows gradually from the base to the tip. The legs are short and the toes long, characters denoting great diving powers. The Indian Cotton-Teal is the only small Duck found within our limits with dark axillaries, and it consequently cannot ever be mistaken for any other Teal occurring in India.
There are several Cotton-Teal, but it is highly improbable that any other species will ever be found to occur within our limits, even as a straggler.