blue winged or cinnamon teal
- I posted that blue winged teal were at Cannery Road in Kenai. This was based on field observations. However, when local USFWS biologists looked at their pictures and mine it was not clear these were blue winged or cinnamon teal, although the feeling was blue winged. Juveniles of these species look very similar. So I have posted pictures under the album title Blue winged or cinnamon teal for people to see. These pictures have also been sent out to experts for their opinion. The birds were off a distance so the pictures are the best we can do right now.
I thought I would post these so everyone can follow the results on this quest and offer their own opinion if they would like to do it. Also this is how we novice birders learn from experts.
On the Kenai we do not see either species very often. Blue winged is rare and cinnamon is accidental.
- The posted photographs are certainly worth a close look - a very intriguing
question. I had not realized before how difficult it is to distinguish
between female and/or juvenile Blue-winged and Cinnamon Teal with the males
are not present.
I checked Sibley's field guide, Cornell's "all about birds" website, and a
few other internet references.
Female Blue-winged Teal have a dark eyeline that contrasts with the part of
the face above the eyeline (which appears like a light supercillium - but
none of the references call it that), and with the rest of the face that is
grayish brown. Female Cinnamon Teal have a mostly uniform, warm brown face.
The references also note that Cinnamon Teal has a longer, heavier bill than
Blue-winged - almost approaching the large bill of a shoveler.
The two birds in the photo have a dark eyeline and contrasting face, and
the bill is not so heavy - it appears the bird carries it's bill
gracefully, definitely not out of proportion with it's head.
The references note subtle differences between the boldness of the pattern
made by body feathers and the light colored spot near the base of the bill,
but those field marks didn't help me one way or the other.
So - based on the dark eyeline and relative heaviness of the bill, I think
they are Blue-winged Teal.
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