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Native to the southern areas of South America, the silver teal is a species of duck. Two subspecies of this duck can be found, one in the northern part of this region and one in the southern part. The silver teal has a somewhat distinctive appearance, and it can be found in shallow fresh water. They are considered dabbling ducks, and they prefer to nest on shore.
Teals are a type of dabbling duck, which means they prefer to feed on the surface of the water. They are usually distinctive from other types of ducks because of their colorful appearance. The scientific name for the silver teal is Anas versicolor. It is also sometimes referred to as the versicolor teal as well. Although the puna teal was once considered a subspecies of the silver teal, it is now recognized as a separate species, and there are now only two recognized subspecies of Anas versicolor.
Anas versicolor versicolor, commonly known as the northern silver teal, can be found in the northern part of the silver teal's range. It is common in the countries of Bolivia, Uruguay, and Paraguay. The southern silver teal, or Anas versicolor fretensis, can be found in the southernmost part of south America. It can be found in the southern parts of Argentina and Chile, as well as the Falkland Islands. The southern silver teal is typically slightly larger and darker, but these two subspecies generally have the same coloring.
The top of a male silver teal's head, above the eyes, is very dark brown or black, and its cheeks are buff colored. A small patch of light orange is visible at the top of its otherwise blue bill, and a black stripe can sometimes be seen running down the middle of the bill. Its throat and sides are buff colored with small black specks, and its breast and front sides are buff colored with more prominent speckling. The tail and rump of this bird are finely barred, and its wings are usually grayish brown. Male silver teals also iridescent blue-green secondary feathers on their wings, and two prominent white bars are usually visible.
Male silver teals also keep this coloring throughout the year, since they keep the same plumage all year round. Females can be distinguished from the males due to their slightly smaller size. They are also usually somewhat duller in color.
The silver teal usually prefers bodies of shallow freshwater, such as ponds and small lakes. Unlike some other ducks, they typically prefer to feed on the surface of the water. They rarely dive underneath the water. Instead, they prefer to skim the surface of the water with their bills, in hopes of capturing insects. They also feed on aquatic vegetation.
Silver teals usually build their nests on land. The females will lay clutches of five to ten eggs, which hatch in a little less than a month. Although it is a relatively docile species, this duck will not usually hesitate to protect its nest.