Hottentot teal

Hottentot Teal

Scientific Classification

Common Name
Hottentot teal
Genus Species
Spatula hottentota

Fast Facts

The Hottentot teal is a small species of duck with a black head and nape and buff-colored cheeks and throat. The back is blackish-brown edged with buff, the breast is brown spotted with black, and the belly is mottled buff. These teals have a green wing speculum and a blue bill with a black streak on the top. The legs and feet are gray. Hens are lighter underneath than males, with mottled flanks.
30 to 35 cm (12 to 14 in.)
Approximately 243 g (8.5 oz)
These ducks are omnivorous, but their diet consists largely of seeds, fruits, and other vegetable matter. They may also take aquatic invertebrates such as crustaceans, mollusks, water insects such as beetles, and fly larvae.
21 to 22 days
Clutch Size
5 to 8 eggs
Fledging Duration
5 weeks
Sexual Maturity
Approximately 1 to 2 years
Life Span
Averages 20 to 30 years
Hottentot teals have an extremely large range and can be found in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti; Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar.
This species frequents shallow, freshwater marshes, swamps, pools and lakes, feeding at muddy edges and among submerged, floating, and emergent vegetation.
Global: The total population is very large with at least 10,000 mature individuals. Their population is decreasing but is not severely fragmented.
IUCN: Least concern
CITES: Not listed
USFWS:  Not listed

Fun Facts

Hottentot teals are one of the smallest ducks as well as one of the smallest species of all waterfowl.

Teals are not very vocal, but males do emit a high-pitched whistle and the female responds with a nasal quack.

These teals eat by swimming with their bill in the water.

Ecology and Conservation

Hottentot teal nests are built from surrounding vegetation and well hidden above water in drowned trees, reeds, sedge or in Papyrus clumps. Usually this species nests singly, but pairs will sometimes nest close together.

Habitat degradation and wetland conversion by commercial and subsistence agriculture is the main threat to this species. The protection of wetlands and waterside vegetation is necessary to maintain their populations..


Austin, G. Birds of the World. New York. Golden Press, Inc., 1961.

Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. UK. Blandford Books Ltd., 1981.

Johnsgard, P. Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World. Lincoln. Univ. Of Neb. Press, 1978.

Scott, P. A Coloured Key of the Wildfowl of the World. Slimbridge, England. The Wildfowl Trust. 1988.

Todd, F.S. Natural History of Waterfowl. San Diego, Ca. Ibis Publishing Co., 1996.

BirdLife International. 2016. Spatula hottentota. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22680332A92856138. Downloaded on 20 November 2018.

Photo Credit: Hottentot_Teal,_Spatula_hottentota_(8116912715).jpg. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Image by: Derek Keats. Year Created: 4 October 2012. Website:,_Spatula_hottentota_(8116912715).jpg. License: CC by SA 2.0.