Marbled Teal

Marbled Teal

Scientific Classification

Common Name
marbled teal, marbled duck
Genus Species
Marmaronetta (marble duck) angustirostris (narrow or small-billed)

Fast Facts

Marbles teals are medium-sized ducks. This species is creamy-white and spotted with grayish brown. The wings are brown with pale secondaries, and the tail a light brown. Both sexes lack the metallic wing speculum seen in other teals. Both the male and female are more or less similar in appearance. However, females have a shorter crest and paler eye stripe.
Approximately 31 to 40 cm (12.5 to 16 in) long; wingspan 55 to 60 cm (22 to 24 in)
168 to 448 g (6 to 16 oz.)
Their diet varies considerably between seasons and sites and additionally with age. Flies are an important component of the diet, especially before and during the breeding season. Small seeds become increasingly important after the breeding season.
Approximately 25 days
Clutch Size
9 to 12 eggs
Fledging Duration
25 to 30 days
Sexual Maturity
Approximately 1 to 2 years
Life Span
Averages 20 to 30 years
Marbled teals have an extremely large range and can be found in Southern Europe and across Northwest Africa in Cameroon, Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco, Algeria, Chad, Mali, and Egypt. They can also be seen across the Middle East, Russia, India and China.
This species has adapted to temporary, unpredictable, Mediterranean-type wetlands and breeds in fairly dry, steppe-like areas on shallow freshwater, brackish or alkaline ponds with well vegetated shorelines, and rich emergent and submergent vegetation. It also breeds on delta marshes where receding waters leave behind large areas of shallow water with abundant sedges and bulrushes. In addition it may use slow rivers and saline coastal lagoons, and man-made wetlands including fish-rearing ponds and small reservoirs
The global population is estimated at around 55,000 to 61,000 individuals, based on estimates of 3,000 to 5,000 in the west Mediterranean and West Africa; 1,000 in the east Mediterranean; 5,000 in south Asia, and 46,000 to 50,000 individuals in South West Asia. The population appears to be decreasing but is not severely fragmented.
IUCN: Vulnerable
CITES: Removed from the list in 1977
USFWS:  Vulnerable

Fun Facts

Males are called drakes, females are hens, and young are ducklings.

Marbled Teals are good swimmers and divers. However, they really only dive in order to escape predators.

These birds produce a squeaking "jeep" sound uttered by displaying males, otherwise they are relatively silent.

Ecology and Conservation

This species appears to have suffered a rapid population decline, evidenced in its core wintering range, as a result of widespread and extensive habitat destruction.

Over 50% of suitable habitat may have been destroyed during the 20th century. Wetland drainage for agriculture occurs across its range, most significantly in Iraq where the species remains threatened by fluctuating water levels and local water shortages. Hydrological work has severely affected breeding sites in Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, and Spain.


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Reader's Digest. Book of North American Birds. Reader's Digest Association, Inc. Pleasantville, New York, 1990.

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. 2017. Marmaronetta angustirostris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22680339A110054350. Downloaded on 17 December 2018.