The most exotic duck in Alberta to an easterner is the Cinnamon Teal. The intense BBQ red colour of the drake is over the top. Seeing the drakes is mind blowing but looking at the females is mind expanding. The age old challenge of separating female Cinnamon and Blue-winged Teal remains.The female Cinnamon Teal is most confidently identified when guarded by a possessive male.
When you come from Newfoundland where even the Blue-winged Teal is on the rare side, it is difficult not to stare at the stunning male Cinnamon Teal.
The standard field marks (quite a judgemental challenge in a real life situation) listed in the bird guides for separating female Cinnamon from female Blue-winged Teal are richer brown with less distinct pale lore spot, eye line and eye ring and a longer more spatulate bill. This picture shows what species??? Yes - Cinnamon.
Another view of the same female Cinnamon Teal. The long spatulate bill and plain face look a little more obvious in this photo. A feature I have not read about so may not be a valid field mark is that female Cinnamon Teal usually (always?) show broader pale edges to the wing coverts and individual flank feathers.
A female Blue-winged Teal with its mate at Pakowki Lake. The dark eye line, contrasting pale lores. and shorter bill are apparent. Also note the finer, narrower pale edges to the wing coverts and flanks giving a trimmer, neater look to the Blue-winge Teal.
The male Blue-winged Teal is not a bad looking duck in the spring.