The silver teal (Anas versicolor) is a teal species native to South America. They are a dabbling ducks that inhabits wetlands, and they are classified as Least Concern by the IUCN. They are not quite as common in captivity though, as they are often considered to be an unattractive, brown species. On the contrary, they are quite stunning. They are a combination of black, buff, brown, and silver, finished off with a blue bill with a yellow patch on the portion closest to the head. The female's plumage is less vibrant than that of the males. Both species have an iridescent blue and green speculum that is bordered with white. As with other South American species, silver teal also do not have an eclipse plumage and retain their breeding plumage year round. This species is compatible in a mixed species pen, though be sure they are not being bullied by any larger species. In a northern climate, they will require some winter protection, especially during their first winter. My silver teal tend to seek shelter on their own in harsh weather, but at times, I intentionally close them up indoors for peace of mind.
Silver teal are capable of breeding when they are one year old, though some take two years to mature. In New York, my silver teal begin laying late March (one of the first species to lay). Being ground nesters, they require ground boxes and heavy cover. My females sometimes even make their own nests in some dense cover. Silver teal can lay between 6-12 eggs, which are incubated for roughly 26 days. Both parents will take part in raising the ducklings. Although they are small ducks, mine do a good job of raising their young in an aviary with larger birds. When an artificial rearing route is taken, the ducklings do well in a wet brooder setup. They are not a problematic species to rear.
If you are interested in acquiring this species, please contact me to be placed on my waiting list. I tend to consistently have silver teal available each year.