1597. Nettium crecca.
The Common Teal.
Anas crecca, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 204; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 166 Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1083; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 593. Querquedula crecca, Blyth, Cat. p. 305; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 806 ;. Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 255 ; Hume & Henders. Lahr to Yarh. p. 297; Hume, S. F. i, p. 262; Adam, ibid. p. 402; Butler, S. F, iv, p. 30; v, p. 234; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 489 ; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 700; Davids. & Wend. S. F. vii, p. 93; Ball, ibid. p. 232; Hume, ibid. p. 494; id. Cat. no. 964;. Scully S. F. viii, p. 363; Hume & Marsh. Game B. iii, p. 205, pl.; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 100 ; Swinhoe, Ibis, 1882, p. 124 ; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 93; Butler, ibid. p. 438 ; Reid,S. F. x, p. 83 ; Davison, ibid. p. 418 ; C. J. W. Taylor, ibid. p. 467 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 285, Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 409; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 346. Nettion crecca, Kaup, Naturl. Syst. p. 95 (1829) ; Salvadori, Cat. B. M. xxvii, p. 243.
Chota Murghabi, Kerra, Lohya Kerra, Putari, Souchuruka, H.; Naroib, Tulsiabigri, Beng.; Baigilagairi, Nepal; Kardo, Sind; Killowai,. Tam.; Sorlai-haki, Can.
Coloration. Male. Head and upper neck chestnut: a broad' metallic-green band on each side running back from the eye, a buff line from the side of the chin passing in front of the lores and thence back to the eye, where it divides, and one branch runs above the green band, the other below ; chin and a narrow band in front of the loral buff line black or blackish brown ; lower neck all round, upper back, inner scapulars, and sides of the body narrowly barred with black and white; outer scapulars buff, broadly and diagonally edged on the outer web with black; lower back and rump brown, frequently with traces of barring; upper tail-coverts black with fulvous edges; tail and wing-feathers brown, the outer secondaries velvety black with white tips, inner secondaries bright emerald-green on outerwebs,forming a speculum; first tertiary black, externally narrowly edged with buff; greater secondary coverts buffy white to pale cinnamon, other coverts brown; breast white, more or less sullied, spotted with round black spots ; abdomen white ; under tail-coverts black in the middle, buff at the sides, the longer white-edged.
As with other true Ducks, a plumage resembling that of the female is assumed after breeding, about June, and the full male garb is only regained in October. The buff and black lanceolate scapulars are generally wanting in winter and appear in January or February.
Female. Upper parts, wings, and tail dark brown, with pale edges to the feathers; wing-speculum as in the male, but the larger secondary coverts are white or buffy white ; lower parts white or whitish, sides and lower surface of head and neck speckled and marked with brown; breast with larger spots.
Bill nearly black; i rides brown ; legs and feet brownish grey.
Length of male 15; tail 2.7 ; wing 7.5 ; tarsus 1.2; bill from gape 1.7. Females are rather smaller: wing 7. Tail-feathers 16, occasionally 18.
Distribution. Europe, North Africa, and Asia. This Teal breeds in the north temperate zone or in tracts with the same temperature and comes south in winter. It is probably found throughout India, Ceylon, and Burma in the cold season, but does not appear to have been observed in Southern Tenasserim, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, nor in Malabar.
Habits, &c. The Teal is perhaps the most generally spread of all the migratory Ducks in India, and may be found from early in October till April generally in small flocks, but often in pairs or singly, in almost any rushy or weedy pond or stream or swamp, as well as on larger pieces of water or on rivers. Large flocks are also met with, though less frequently. The usual note is a subdued " quack," but Teal also have a whistle, used chiefly at night. Their flight is very swift. They feed chiefly on plants and are always good eating. In Upper India large numbers both of this species and of Querquedula circia are caught in nets in the early spring and kept in " Tealeries," small covered buildings with a good supply of water, through the hot season, being fed on grain and grass or lucerne. They become very fat and delicious. Teal are not known to breed in India, nor even in the Himalayas.