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Like many duck species in North America, Cinnamon Teal perform courtship displays and form pairs from late winter into early spring.
Several males may court one female, making ritualized mock feeding and preening movements.
Unlike most duck species, males may not abandon their mate until near the time the eggs hatch, and sometimes are seen accompanying the female and young brood.
A relatively small duck with sizeable head and rather long bill, longer than Blue-winged Teal’s but shorter than Northern Shoveler’s.
Breeding male has red eye, long dark bill, and mostly vivid rusty plumage, with brownish back, white under wing. Female, immature, and non-breeding males are mostly rich brownish overall. All adults have sky-blue patch in open wing, similar to other teal and shovelers.
Flocks of Cinnamon Teal dabble for food at the water’s surface in marshes, sometimes feeding like shoveler flocks, moving in the same direction as they feed.