The ringed teal (Callonetta leucophrys) is a small duck native to South American forests. The males have a chestnut-red coloring on their back, grey flanks, and a salmon colored breast that is speckled with black. The head is distinctively marked with a black band running from its beak to its flank. The bill of the male is a light blue color. The females are an overall brown color; however, their heads are marked with white splotches and their breasts are penciled with white. Both sexes have a white rump, dark tail, and their infamous white ring on their wings; the ring is seen most clearly when they are in flight. Both sexes also have pink feet that have sharp claws, allowing them to perch and nest amongst the trees. The lovely part about these ducks is that the males do not have an eclipse plumage, so they remain colorful all year long, making them a popular choice to spruce up one's collection.
Ringed teal have a fairly stable population in the wild, and they are also well-represented in captivity. Ringed teal are calm ducks that pose no challenges to raise. The females are great at incubating (incubation period of 23 days) and rearing the ducklings, and the males even take part in protecting their family. I let my ringed teal raise their ducklings in a mixed collection setting with great success; ringed teal are some of the best parents I have witnessed yet in the duck realm. Even if you choose not to let the parents raise the offspring, the ducklings are not hard to artificially rear, though do take their size into consideration and do not keep them with ducklings of larger species. Since they are native to warm regions of South America, like Argentina and Paraguay, care needs to be taken to protect them from the elements during the extreme cold spells in the winter. I find that if you are located in the north, it is a good idea to buy tropical species from northern breeders, as they are more accustomed to the colder climate. This species has many pros, and since they are suitable for mixed collections, you cannot go wrong with having them.
I normally have surplus Ringed Teal available in the fall; please contact me ahead of time to be placed on my waiting list.