Nettium albigulare

Andaman Teal.

Nettium albigulare.

The Andaman teal, although not distinguished by Hume from the Australasian oceanic teal (the real gibberifrons) has, with the exception of a single specimen recorded from Burma, no doubt a wind-blown straggler, been only found in the Andaman Islands.

It would, however, be easily recognizable among our mainland species, owing to its very dark brown colour, but little relieved by the pale edgings to the feathers, and the conspicuous white patch on the wing in front of the wing-bar, which marking is black, green, and white, the two last colours forming narrow central and bordering streaks respectively. Except in yearling birds, there is a white ring round the eye, and some older specimens have the feathers at the base of the beak, or even the whole sides of the head and back of the neck white. This amount of white colour takes some years to develop, and I have only seen one bird wild killed showing it, but it has appeared sooner or later in all captives I have watched, though those bred in captivity are without even any white eye-ring at first; just like young wild birds in fact. It remains to be seen whether this marking is really becoming common among the wild stock from some cause we are unaware of, or whether only captive birds get a chance to live long enough to become white-headed, for that is what the tame ones ultimately become, the brown being limited to the centre of the crown.

The Andaman teal resembles the small whistler in many of its ways, being active on the water, a regular percher and a light flyer, and an inveterate fighter; this it has to be if it must live along with the Andaman strain of the small whistler, which, judging from a pair we had in the Calcutta Zoo, is even more peppery in character than the mainland birds, from which these were distinguishable by their smaller size and richer colour. Like the whistling teal, also, it breeds either in trees or on the ground, the eggs being cream-coloured; the tree site for the nest is the common one, and it is placed in a hole. It is, however, a true teal in general characters, though large for such a bird, weighing about a pound; also, though the sexes are alike in colour, it has the usual sex difference in note found in the teal, the drake whistling and the duck quacking. It is a very active runner, and also flies sharply though noiselessly; during the day it perches most of the time, feeding at night in ponds or in the morning and evening in paddy fields, but is also found in salt water.

Indian Sporting Birds
Finn, Frank. Indian Sporting Birds. Edwards, 1915.
Title in Book: 
Nettium albigulare
Book Author: 
Frank Finn
Page No: 
Common name: 
Andaman Teal
Andaman Teal
Anas albogularis
Term name: 

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