Grey Teal

Anas gracilis (also known as Tētē)

Grey Teal


The greater Waikato region, Hawke's Bay and Otago


Wetlands and shallow freshwater lakes with good vegetation for cover


Seeds and insects


Unlike most birds, grey teal has no specific breeding period and will wait until conditions are right. They nest in hollow trees, rabbit burrows and on sheltered bare ground. The nest itself is sparse. They lay 5-9 eggs at the rate of one a day and they are gradually covered with down. They're incubated by the female for 24-26 days.


Mortality rates are high for both adults and young. Many are killed accidentally in the hunting season and few manage to attain a lifespan of six years.


Grey Teal are self-introduced from Australia, migrating when severe drought occurs in Australia’s interior regions.

The male and female are alike; distinguishing features include their small size, pale face and throat, and dark grey on top of the head. The general body colour is grey speckled with brown, lighter on the chest.

They are very mobile and travel great distances. Grey teal feed mostly at dawn and dusk. They sometimes dredge muddy water bottoms and strip seeds from overhanging plants. They may feed on land, but never far from water.