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Saturday, July 13: Franklin Park Zoo will close at 3:00 p.m. (last daytime admission ticket sold at 2:00 p.m.) in preparation for our Brew at the Zoo event. Please plan your visit accordingly!

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Baikal Teal

Sibirionetta formosa





About the Baikal Teal

conservation status: least concern

Geographic Range:

range map

Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Sibirionetta
Species: formosa

This small, handsome, dabbling duck spends the summer breeding season in northern Siberia and nests in the marshes and shrubby wetlands alongside great inland freshwater lakes. In winter, these birds migrate to southeast Asia.

Committed to Conservation

As a striking and beautiful bird, many teal populations have been threatened in the past by hunting for feathers and sport. They typically live in large flocks, which makes them easy to hunt. Hunting can be a threat to wildlife populations if not done sustainably.

The United States Duck Stamps are a great example of sustainable hunting for conservation. In 1934, the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act was passed to stop the destruction of migratory waterfowl due to overhunting and the destruction of wetland habitat due to agricultural and human expansion. All waterfowl hunters must now purchase and carry an annual Federal Duck Stamp. Approximately 98 cents of every duck stamp dollar goes directly to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to purchase wetlands and wildlife habitat to be protected by the National Wildlife Refuge System. More than half a billion dollars have gone into that fund to purchase more than 5 million acres of habitat.

Put your own stamp on conservation
Good news! You no longer have to be a hunter to contribute to conservation! Anyone can purchase a Federal Duck Stamp, which also serves as a free pass into any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee. 

Baikal Teal Facts

Male Baikal teals are more colorful and have a more vibrant plumage than females. Females have a white spot on the base of their bill. Teals' webbed feet and thick feathers make them well-suited for spending long periods of time in water. Their striped and blotchy feathers provide camouflage, helping them blend in with long grasses. The small, tooth-like projections on their bill allow them to filter out food more efficiently than most dabbling ducks.

A male’s average weight is approximately 1 pound, while females tend to average slightly under 1 pound.

These ducks feed on grains, seeds, aquatic invertebrates, algae and aquatic plants.

This species reaches sexual maturity at age 1. Their breeding season is in May, and they breed once yearly. They are monogamous during each breeding season, and each year they choose a new mate. Baikal teal migrate to swampy woodland and meadow breeding grounds and begin courtship displays. Males “burp” and females gesture by “nod-swimming”.

Females typically lay between four and 10 eggs, which hatch about 24 days later. By August, ducklings are independent from their mothers. Chicks can forage, dive and walk by themselves shortly after hatching, and their mother will only brood them at night and when it gets cold to protect them.

Baikal teal are social animals. They’re often found in large numbers, roosting in large flocks. Known as dabbling ducks, this waterfowl species tends to sit on the water and doesn’t dive. They communicate by using different quacks.

Baikal teal is a species native to eastern Asia, traveling between north and east Siberia to southeast China. While rare, they’ve been seen in Alaska. They can be found in freshwater ponds and pools in taiga and tundra regions. In the winter, this bird can be found in freshwater rivers, lakes and brackish waters.

Median Life Expectancy:
Up to 25 years in the wild

Role in their habitat:
Baikal teal regulate water insect numbers and water plant growth. They're often considered a pest due to their consumption of grain and rice in farmers' fields.

Baikal teals are hunted for their feathers, meat, and for sport. They can be preyed upon by dogs, cats, foxes and birds of prey.