Status: Resident & winter migrant. Most of the Icelandic population winter in Ireland, and also some from Fennoscandia and northern Russia.
Conservation Concern: Amber-listed in Ireland due to a decline in the breeding population. The European population is considered to be Secure.
Identification: Small duck with short neck. Males with brown head, striking green patch which extends from the eye towards the back of the neck and is thinly bordered yellow. Grey bodied with horizontal white stripe along the body, green speculum and creamy-yellow patch bordered by black on either side of the rump. Females brown, streaked and mottled dark, with green speculum.
Similar Species: Green-winged Teal, Mallard and other duck species.
Call: Male with clear ringing whistle 'treel', similar to Pintail, but higher pitched. Female quacking feeble and high-pitched.
Diet: Small seeds predominate, but Enteromorpha sp. and molluscs are also frequently taken. Occasionally feed on chironomid larvae where available, though usually during the summer months. They feed by day where they are safe from shooting.
Breeding: They usually nest near small freshwater lakes or pools and small upland streams away from the coast, and also in thick cover.
Wintering: Widespread on wetlands with good cover, such as reedbeds. Wide variety of habitats, both coastal and inland, and usually below an altitude of 200 metres, including coastal lagoons and estuaries and inland marshes, lakes, ponds and turloughs.
Where to See: Shannon & Fergus Estuary in County Clare, Little Brosna Callows in County Offaly, Lough Ree in County Longford, Strangford Lough in County Down and Loughs Neagh & Beg in County Antrim are among the best wintering sites (2,000- 3,000 birds on each).
Monitored by: Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS).