Baby ducks delight visitors at the National Aviary


06/26/2014

Baby ducks delight visitors at the National Aviary

 

 

 

On Saturday morning, June 21, visitors to the National Aviary were greeted with an adorable surprise. A line of Ringed Teal chicks were following their parents through the water and around the exhibit! The chicks can be spotted in the National Aviary’s Wetlands exhibit during operating hours. The cute little fluffy ducklings are about the size of a golf ball when they hatch and grow very quickly; they are expected to reach mature size by July 31. Their adult coloration will begin to appear slowly, making males and females easily distinguishable by September of this year.

 

Ringed Teal ducks’ hatching

When ducklings hatch, they are precocial, meaning they are born with downy feathers and their eyes open. These miniature replicas of their parents can swim, walk and eat on their own. The chicks obtain oil for waterproofing their feathers by rubbing against their mother's abdominal plumage. The parents’ primary role is to protect the chicks and lead them to food sources such as worms, greens, fish and grains.

 

Our Ringed Teal “family”

The National Aviary chicks hatched to two Ringed Teal mothers who chose to share a nest, which is not that uncommon in the wild. By having a father and two mothers looking after them in the Wetlands exhibit (or the wild), the chicks have an increased rate of survival. For the next few weeks, the parents will guide them through the exhibit teaching them all about the Wetlands and how to survive on their own.

 

Ringed Teal general facts

Ringed Teals live in wetlands in South America from southern Bolivia, Paraguay, and southwestern Brazil, to northeastern Argentina and Uruguay. They are perching ducks with long toes and strong claws that help them nest high off the ground in hollow trees.