Marbled Teal is elegant bird, the marbled duck suits its name, having a brown body speckled with cream. Its dark eye-patch blends into a broad stripe from the eye to the nape, including a slight crest on the back of the head. With its low, slow flight and noticeably long neck and wings, this duck is easily identifiable in flight. Displaying males give a squeaking ‘jeep’, but this species is otherwise quiet.

It lives in wetlands, preferably brackish, with vegetation such as reeds growing. It is estimated that 50% of suitable habitat across its range was destroyed during the 20th century. This includes drainage for agriculture and water management such as dams in countries such as Iraq, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco and Spain. I suspect that the current Spanish plan to divert some of the waters of the Ebro southwards in Spain will do little to help the survival of this species.

It is a dabbling duck and is partly migratory. It is resident in parts of the Middle East while there is a concentration of wintering birds in Pakistan which breed around the Caspian and Aral Seas. The small Spanish population mostly migrates to North Africa during the winter although they are present in Coto Doñana all year.

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