Brazilian Duck (Amazonetta brasiliensis), also known as the Brazilian Teal, is a small duck that is the only member of the Amazonetta genus. When at rest, this species looks fairly drab with mostly chestnut body plumage. Males are differentiated from females by their red bill and bright orange legs and feet. Female Brazilian Ducks display gray bills with similar legs and feet to the males. Males have rusty plumage directly behind their bull that extends to their crown. Females have white “eyebrow” patches and a gray crown. With extended wings, Brazilian Ducks show intricate iridescent plumage. On their lesser and median coverts, males have black feathers that seem tinted with purple. The rest of the wing is spectacular, with iridescent teal and dark blue, in addition to the stark white tips of the secondaries that are prominently visible during flight, a tell-tale indicator. Females have similar wings but their primaries are gray.
Brazilian Duck has a considerably large range that extends from Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, Bolivia, and to Columbia. There are two recognized subspecies of Brazilian Teal—the Lesser Brazilian Teal and the Greater Brazilian Teal. The Lesser inhabits Brazil, Suriname. Guyana, French Guiana, Venezuela, Columbia, and Peru; while the Greater inhabits Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Brazilian Duck take advantage of areas with access to freshwater that is not near coastal waters. While they have been known to make use of somewhat saline waters, they prefer lakes, ponds, rivers, and marshy areas that have dense vegetation.
Brazilian Teal in Paraguay begin their breeding season in November until December. In Argentina, the breeding season is from June to July. This is not a very social bird as they are rarely seen in groups of more than twenty birds. Brazilian Duck are also commonly seen in pairs. Females will lay six to twelve pale yellow eggs. Both parents take part in rearing the young, which only consume insects. Adult Brazilian Ducks will forage for seeds, fruits, and insects.
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Brazilian Ducks, or Brazilian Teal, are usually low-flying, two white wing spots popping intermittently, contrasting murky swamp. Maybe you find yourself tracking little bouncing white balls early, when it’s so dim that dragon breath leaps from the barrel at the shot. But later, in sparkling sunlight, it’s like swinging through a pair of fist-sized emeralds tossed across home plate. A favorite of northern Argentina hunters, Brazilian Duck’s iridescent wings flash in the morning sun. Dark heads and red lips (i know, they’re called bills) indicate drakes.