Anas flavirostris , Photo: Duncan Wright(*)
Anas flavirostris Vieillot, 1816
* Nouveau Dictionnaire d'Histoire Naturelle Appliquée aux Arts 5 p.107
The Speckled Teal (Anas flavirostris) is a South American species of duck. Like other teals, it belongs to the diverse genus Anas; more precisely it is one of the "true" teals of subgenus Nettion. It resides in Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay and Brazil. It has also established itself in South Georgia, where it was first recorded breeding in 1971. It inhabits freshwater wetlands, preferring palustrine habitat to rivers, and in the northern part of its range it is restricted to the Andean highlands. Considering its wide range and local abundance, it is not considered threatened by the IUCN. It is often split into two or more species.
Mitochondrial DNA sequence data is most similar to that of the very different-looking Green-winged Teal. Apart from the mystifying relationship with the red-and-green-headed teals, it altogether most resembles the Indian Ocean radiation of teals. But the Yellow-billed Teal's unicolored underside and namesake bill are unique, as is to be expected from a species that evolved half a world apart from Bernier's or the Grey Teal.
This species is also unique among its relatives in some aspects of its post-copulation behavior: After dismounting, the drakes stretch themselves up high and swim around and alongside the females.
Traditionally, there are 4 subspecies:
* Merida Teal, Anas flavirostris altipetens – highlands of north-west Venezuela and adjacent parts of Colombia.
Each of the above have been considered as separate species, but increasingly the two northern taxa altipetens and andium, which have a dark greyish bill, are considered as a single species, the Andean Teal (Anas andium, with altipetens as a subspecies). In that case, the two remaining taxa, which have a largely yellow bill, are referred to as the Speckled or Yellow-billed Teal (Anas flavirostris, with oxyptera as a subspecies).
1. ^ Carboneras (1992), Johnson & Sorenson (1999), Johnson et al. (2000)
* Accordi, Iury Almeida & Barcellos, André (2006): Composição da avifauna em oito áreas úmidas da Bacia Hidrográfica do Lago Guaíba, Rio Grande do Sul [Bird composition and conservation in eight wetlands of the hidrographic basin of Guaíba lake, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil]. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 14(2): 101-115 [Portuguese with English abstract]. PDf fulltext
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