Madagascar teal

(Anas bernieri)


Madagascar teal IUCN ENDANGERED (EN)


Facts about this animal

The Madagascar teal is a small dabbling duck with a body-weight of about 400 g, known exclusively from the western domain of Madagascar, predominantly from a narrow coastal strip, typically fringed with mangrove.

The plumage of the Madagascar teal is uniform, warm reddish brown with darker centres to most body feathers, giving a spotted appearance when viewed closely. The black speculum is tipped with white, and a white band on the median coverts produces a black and white area on the upper wing that is a very visible diagnostic feature as the bird flies. Bare parts are pinky grey, the eye chestnut. Males and females look alike and are best differentiated by vocalisations (see below). Males, however, are typically larger than females.

Madagascar teal nest in tree holes, preferably in grey mangrove (Avicennia marina), close to water. Nest holes have been found 1-3 m above the water surface. 6 to 7 eggs are laid in one clutch generally at daily intervals. Incubation is by the female alone, and the eggs hatch after approximately 27-28 days.

Madagascar teal feed predominantly by wading in the shallows, walking forward with the head lowered, filtering material through the bill. They upend if in deeper water. Knowledge of the diet through the year is limited, but seeds of waterside vegetation and invertebrates are eaten during wing moult.

Did you know?
that, until 1993, only one single Madagascar teal, a female imported in 1927, had reached Europe alive? This bird was eventually moved to the collection of Jean Delacour at Clères in France (today one of the zoos of the National Museum of Natural History), where it lived with a male chestnut teal (A. castanea) for several years, but did not attempt to breed. In 1993, efforts to initiate an ex-situ breeding programme began at the Jersey Zoo, headquarters of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, with the capture of four adult teals. In total 11 Madagascar teal were imported since 1993, nine have bred and are the founders of the entire ex-situ population.


Class AVES
Suborder ANSERES
Name (Scientific) Anas bernieri
Name (English) Madagascar teal
Name (French) Canard de Bernier
Name (German) Bernierente
Name (Spanish) Cerceta de Madagascar
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Appendix II (as Anatidae spp.)



Photo Copyright by
BS Thurner Hof



Range West coast and the extreme north-east of Madagascar
Habitat Shallow, open waters (fresh or saline, perhaps most often brackish) with emergent vegetation and nutrient-rich mud. (IUCN Red List)
Wild population 1,500 - 2,500 (Birdlife)
Zoo population 211 reported to ISIS

In the Zoo

Madagascar teal


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 18 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


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Why do zoos keep this animal

The Madagascar teal is an endangered species, and coordinated breeding by zoos will result in the establishment and maintenance of a viable ex-situ reserve population.

Not much is known about the Madagascar teal in the wild, and most of our knowledge is based on birds kept at zoos.