Spatula Cyanoptera – Cinnamon Teal

Spatula Cyanoptera - Cinnamon Teal found in the US

In western North and South America, the cinnamon teal, Spatula cyanoptera is a duck species. It is a tiny dabbling duck with males sporting brilliant reddish plumage and females sporting duller brown plumage. It is found in marshes and ponds and subsists primarily on plants.

Quick Overview: Spatula Cyanoptera – Cinnamon Teal
Body size: Around 14-17 in (36-43 cm) and a weight of 465 g (16.4 oz)
Main colors: Brown, Cinnamon-Brown, Red, Yellow-Gray, White, Blue
Range: Western United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: June, July, August, September
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Cinnamon Teal Description

This little duck has dark brown scaled upperparts, cinnamon-brown underparts, a cinnamon-brown head and neck, red eyes, a long dark bill, and yellow-gray legs. On the wing, a white line separates the green speculum from the pale blue shoulder patch. Overall, the female is brown-scaled with a dull blue shoulder patch, dark eyes, and a pale-edged upper mandible.

Spatula Cyanoptera - Cinnamon Teal found in the US
Spatula Cyanoptera – Cinnamon Teal. Photo by: Renee Grayson


These birds have a length of 14-17 in (36-43 cm) and a weight of 465 g (16.4 oz). Their wings could range from 24-30 in (61-76 cm).


The cinnamon teal is an opportunistic duck. It eats primarily in shallow water, scooping up floating plants, seeds, and even insects. Additionally, it will dive for food and consume aquatic invertebrates.


The cinnamon teal is found in shallow ponds, marshes, lakes, and streams that are edged by low-growing reeds and other plants.


Female cinnamon teal will swim directly in front of a male she wants to attract. Males will preen, lower their heads, and perform brief flights in order to attract females. The female will construct a nest using grass, feathers, and plant stalks. She will gain access to the nest via tunnels she creates in the plants.

Spatula Cyanoptera Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Genus: Spatula
  • Species: Spatula cyanoptera

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the summer season (June – September).

Distribution of the Cinnamon Teal in the USA

Cinnamon teals breed throughout western North America, from British Columbia to Montana and south to California, Mexico, and Texas. It spends the winter in the southernmost region of its breeding area.

The Cinnamon Teal can be found in the following states in the United States – Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Spatula Cyanoptera – Cinnamon Teal

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