The Baikal Teal (Anas formosa) is a dabbling duck that breeds within the forest zone of eastern Siberia from the Yenisey basin eastwards to Kamchatka. It is a migratory species, wintering in Japan, Korea and northern and eastern China. Molecular (Johnson & Sorenson, 1999) and behavioral (Johnson et al., 2000) data suggest that it has no close relatives among living ducks and should be placed in a distinct genus; it is possibly closest to such species as the Garganey and the Northern Shoveler.
At between 39 and 43 cm, this duck is slightly larger and longer-tailed than the Common Teal. The breeding male is unmistakable, with a striking green, yellow and black head pattern and a white vertical line at the side of the breast.
The female also has a distinctive head pattern with a small but prominent circular white loral spot and a dark stripe behind the eye. Some "females" have "bridle" markings on their faces, but it has been suggested that at least some of these bridled "females," if not all, are in fact juvenile males . The juvenile has a plumage similar to that of the female and can be distinguished from the Common Teal by the pale loral spot.
In non-breeding (eclipse) plumage, the drake looks more like the female, but plumage is a much richer rufous colour.
It breeds in pools on the tundra edge and within swampy forests. In winter it is found on lowland fresh waters.
This species is classified as Vulnerable due to hunting and destruction of its wintering wetland habitats. However, recent books state that the species is making a good comeback..
There are approximately 300,000 baikal teal in the world.
- ^ Dunn, John L. and Alderfer, Jonathan, National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Fifth Edition ISBN 0-7922-5314-0
- ^ Dunn, John L. and Alderfer, Jonathan, National Geographic Complete Birds of North America, ISBN 0-7922-5314-0
- ^ (2006-03-05). Planet Earth episode 1: "From Pole to Pole" [Documentary]. BBC.