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Brown Teal Anas chlorotis
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This species has a very small range. Until recently its overall range, area of occupancy, area and quality of habitat, number of locations and sub-populations, and number of individuals were undergoing very rapid declines; however, intensive management has halted the decline and populations are now increasing, with several new populations being established. Despite this recent change in fortunes, it remains classified as Endangered until these trends are consolidated.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

48 cm. Small, dark brown duck. Brown eclipse male, female, juvenile. Mottled, dark brown breast. White eye-ring. Breeding male, glossy green head. Very narrow white collar. White flank patch. Similar spp. Grey Teal A. gracilis, Chestnut Teal A. castanea have a white triangle in front of speculum when in flight and no white eye-ring. Voice Soft, high-pitched wheezy whistles, popping (male), low quacks and growls (female).

Distribution and population
Anas chlorotis is endemic to New Zealand, where it was once widespread in the North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands, but its range is now much reduced. The current strongholds are on Great Barrier Island, where there were 1,300-1,500 birds in the early 1990s, declining to little over 500 in the early 2000s and increasing to over 600 in 2004, and at Mimiwhangata and Teal Bay on the east coast of Northland where the population declined by 65% in the period between 1988 and 1999 to c.100 individuals in 2001 before increasing to nearly c.350 by 2007 (Williams and Dumbell 1996, M. Williams in litt. 1999, Parrish and Williams 2001, Roxburgh 2005, S. Moore and P. Battley in litt. 2012). The re-introduced population in the northern Coromandel numbered c.500 individuals in early 2008, and is increasing. Its estimated Area of Occupancy is only c.300-500 km2 (Callaghan et al. in prep). After a study on Great Barrier Island indicated that the population was halving every 4.1 years and could rapidly decline to extinction intensive management was initiated which has seen populations rising again (Ferreira and Taylor 2003, Roxburgh 2005, Hayes 2006, Sim and Roxburgh 2007). Small islands where birds have previously been introduced and persisted for one to two decades may be too small for long-term survival, and some of these populations appear to be approaching extinction; however, the overall population trend is now positive (M. Williams in litt. 1999, Roxburgh 2005, Sim and Roxburgh 2007). New populations have been established at Tawharanui, Cape Kidnappers and Tuhua Island (A. Booth et al. in litt. 2012); however, for the purposes of this assessment, the number of locations is treated as three, until the long-term outcomes of releases beyond Great Barrier Island, Northland and Coromandel can be judged with confidence.

Population justification
Over 1,100 birds were estimated in 2005 at Great Barrier Island and Northland alone (with c.600 at each) (A. Booth et al. in litt. 2012, N. Hayes in litt. 2012), and the population on Coromandel has been estimated at c.700 birds (N. Hayes in litt. 2012), suggesting that the population numbers c.1,900 individuals, treated here as including c.1,300 mature individuals, based on the assumption that they account for around 2/3 of the total population.

Trend justification
The population had been falling rapidly owing to predation by introduced mammals; however, since 2003 it has been increasing as a result of intensive management. The rate of increase has not been estimated.

It formerly occurred in a wide range of habitats, including freshwater and coastal wetlands, and inland forests up to 800 m (Worthy 2002). It is now restricted to coastal streams, wetlands and dams in predominantly agricultural environments (M. Williams in litt. 1999). It nests in bowls of grass, always under dense, low vegetation, and usually lays six eggs. It feeds on terrestrial, freshwater and marine invertebrates and terrestrial and freshwater vegetation (Williams and Dumbell 1996, Moore et al. 2006). Peak breeding takes place between May and September, but can occur throughout the year (Sim and Roxburgh 2007). Only the female incubates the eggs (Sim and Roxburgh 2007).

Between the 1890s and 1930s, wetland drainage and severe hunting pressure (which continued in several areas despite legal protection in 1921) caused widespread local extinctions (Heather and Robertson 1997, Callaghan et al. in prep). Predation by the introduced mammalian predators, primarily cats, dogs, mustelids Mustela spp. and possums Trichosurus vulpecula, as well as the native Purple Gallinule Porphyrio porphyrio (locally known as Pukeko), were the primary cause of the modern decline (Heather and Robertson 1997, Ferreira and Taylor 2003, Hayes 2006, Conner et al. 2007, Sim and Roxburgh 2007). Habitat modification, drought-induced habitat change, traffic-caused road deaths and especially predation continue to endanger remnant mainland populations (M. Williams in litt. 1999, Parrish and Williams 2001, Hayes 2006, O'Connor et al. 2007, Sim and Roxburgh 2007). The threat of habitat loss to agriculture has diminished to some extent in recent years (N. Hayes in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I. In 2007, a species recovery plan was produced with the goal of securing in the wild a combined protected population of 2,000 birds at 5-10 managed sites by 2010. Following a major audit of the recovery programme in 2000 the population has begun to increase. Over 200 birds are held in captivity. Although initial mainland releases totalling over 1,000 birds (Williams and Dumbell 1996) failed, releases are now conducted in combination with intensive predator control and breeding populations appear to have become established in several locations (Heather and Robertson 1997, Hayes 2006, O'Connor et al. 2007, Sim and Roxburgh 2007), and that the species's total population is entering a recovery phase (Hayes 2010, A. Booth et al. in litt. 2012). At least 139 individuals have now been released in a predator-controlled area of Fiordland on the South Island with the hope of establishing a population (Anon. 2011). Predator control, including that of Purple Gallinule (Pukeko), on Great Barrier Island has also led to stability in this population (Hayes 2010). Hazing fences on roads have been erected to force ducks to either fly or use culverts when passing between favoured feeding sites, these have met with success and are planned for more areas (Hayes 2006, Sim and Roxburgh 2007). Habitat is being restored in Northland and Coromandel with the co-operation of local landowners, and some wetlands are grazed to create improved conditions for teal (Sim and Roxburgh 2007). Research is on-going, focusing on management techniques and habitat requirements (Williams and Dumbell 1996). Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue to implement the species recovery plan. Continue to maintain a viable breeding population at a minimum of two locations on the North Island mainland. Continue measures to increase the population on Great Barrier Island. Continue predator control measures at key sites. Erect more hazing fences in areas where road mortality is greatest. Continue the captive breeding programme as a source of birds for translocations. Continue to encourage public support and involvement (Williams and Dumbell 1996). Conduct research into seasonal starvation events (A. Booth et al. in litt. 2012). Carry out studies into habitat use by the species. Conduct research into causes of declines.

Anon. 2011. Pateke (Brown Teal) release in the Arthur River-Milford Track. Available at: (Accessed: 06/03/2012).

Daugherty, C. H.; Williams, M.; Hay, J. M. 1999. Genetic differentiation, taxonomy and conservation of Australasian teals Anas spp. Bird Conservation International 9: 29-42.

Ferreira, S. M.; Taylor, S. 2003. Population decline of brown teal (Anas chlorotis) on Great Barrier Island. Notornis 50: 141-147.

Hayes, N. 2006. Brown Teal released at Port Charles, New Zealand. TWSG News: 16-18.

Hayes, N. 2010. Pateke in recovery mode. Southern Bird: 10-11.

Heather, B. D.; Robertson, H. A. 1997. The field guide to the birds of New Zealand. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Moore, S. J.; Battley, P. F.; Henderson, I. M.; Webb, C. J. 2006. The diet of Brown Teal (Anas chlorotis). New Zealand Journal of Ecology 30: 397-403.

Moore, S.J.; Battley, P.F. 2006. Differences in the digestive organ morphology of captive and wild Brown Teal Anas chlorotis and implications for releases. Bird Conservation International 16(3): 253-264.

O'Connor, S. M.; Maloney, R. F.; Pierce, R. J. 2007. Pateke (Anas chlorotis) recovery plan, 2005-2010. Department of Conservation, Wellington.

Parrish, R.; Williams, M. 2001. Decline of Brown Teal (Anas chlorotis) in Northland, New Zealand. Notornis 48: 131-136.

Roxburgh, J. 2005. Brown Teal (Pateke). Wingspan 15: 15.

Sim, J.; Roxburgh, J. 2007. Brown Teal bouncing back. Southern Bird: 8-9.

Williams, M.; Dumbell, G. 1996. Brown Teal (Pateke) Anas chlorotis recovery plan. Department of Conservation, Wellington.

Worthy, T.H. 2002. Fossil distribution of Brown Teal in New Zealand. DoC Science Internal Series. Department of Conservation, Wellington.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

New Zealand Govt - Dept of Conservation - Recovery Plan

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Martin, R, Pilgrim, J., Taylor, J.

Battley, P., Booth, A., Hayes, N., Holzapfel, A., Miller, N., Moore, S., Roxburgh, J., Williams, M.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Anas chlorotis. Downloaded from on 05/10/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 05/10/2015.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Brown teal (Anas chlorotis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, Swans)
Species name author Gray, 1845
Population size 1300 mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 940 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species