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Teal research program

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France is an important wintering area for Teal (Anas crecca), whose numbers in mid-January counts have been around 100,000 individuals during the last 15 years. Birds that winter in France have theoretically been split into two distinct subpopulations, North-western European and Mediterranean, between which exchanges of individuals are most likely.


 Numbers in the North-western European subpopulation are thought to increase increase, while no trend can be detected in the Mediterranean subpopulation.

Teal is also an important quarry species, since the number of individals hunted during the 1998-99 hunting season were over 330,000 individuals, or 3-4 times the number counted in January. This apparent contradiction may be due to a high turnover of individuals in wintering Teal populations, as already shown in the Camargue, Southern France, and suggested for western France : birds would not spend the whole winter in one region, but the new arrival of migrants would gradually renew the birds killed by hunting. It remains, however, to determine the factors leading to this potential turnover, its importance in some wintering quarters, and the way these wintering quarters are connected. Despite the fact that Teal has already been studied quite a lot in Europe, new research was therefore necessary if one wants to adjust at best management decision and policy-making. For this purpose, ONCFS launched a new research program in 2002, under 3 main axes :

Analysis of historical ringing data from the Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat, in the Camargue. Teal were ringed there for more than 30 years (from the end of the 1940’s to the mid 1970’s), to get precise data concerning the biometry of the birds, their survival rates, the size of populations and turnover among these,

Launching of a new national ringing scheme, to get data comparable to the Camargue one at a 30 years interval, individual marking of the birds to ease the study of their behaviour and movements,

In future years, development of predictive population dynamics models for Teal, to help decision-making in the context of this species management and conservation policy.



The analysis of the Tour du Valat historical ringing database is in process, and several papers are either in preparation, submitted or in press in international scientific journals. These articles will be made available on this website after publication. This databse represents information from 60,000 Teal ringed, leading to 20,000 recaptures of live birds and 10,000 recoveries of dead ones.


The current ringing scheme is conducted at the national scale, with a total of 14 ringing areas : the Marais du Vigueirat in Camargue, the Gironde wetlands, the hunting and wildlife reserve of the Massereau in the Loire estuary, The Duer Marsh reserve and other wetlands in Golfe du Morbihan, Saint Georges de Bohon Reserve and Beauguillot Nature Reserve in the Manche area, the hunting and wildlife reserve of la Grand-Mare in the Seine estuary, Puydarrieux lake in Hautes-Pyrénées, Outines lakes in the wet Champagne area, Forez and Yonne wetlands, and Dombes and Brenne former fish ponds.


Caught birds are all weighted, measured, ringed and realeased. Each bird is fitted with a metal ring from the National Museaum of Natural History (wearing « Mus. Paris » plus an individual identification number).


Some birds are also fitted with nasal saddles at capture, in order to ease subsequent observation and to study individual behaviour, like foraging, movement and pair formation.

On these saddles is written an individual code made of 2 characters (like A1, 1A, A=, etc…) that are identical on both sides of the bill, plus for some birds an additional third character on the front.


We use bright yellow nasal saddles for Camargue-ringed Teal, lime-green color for the other ringing sites. This method has been successfully used in Northern America and in some European countries for tens of years now.



Since the beginning of the program, 11,498 ducks (among which 6,939 were Teal) have been ringed, and 5,401 (2,713 Teal) subsequently recaptured and released again. These recaptures were 953 different individual Teal. The number of ducks ringed (all species together) decreased slightly in 2009/10 compared to 2008/09 (1,367 instead of 1,626), while the number of recaptures strongly decreased (322 in 2009/10 compared to 579 in 2008/09). Many sites had a poor capture year despite high capture effort, while a few sites caught relatively large numbers of Teal. A total of 762 Teal have now been recovered, i.e. either deliberately shot or found dead since the start, and reported. Recovery rate for Teal is therefore equal to 10.98% now, a value slightly above the 10.8% of the end of the previous ringing season.


In this program, nasal saddles made of soft plastic are fitted on some birds only, in agreement with CRBPO (at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris), and the other European bodies using this method. In total, 472 Teal have been fitted this way in 2009/10 (or 61.5% of ringed birds). These saddles have allowed a large number of resightings (575 in total for Teal in 2009/10, which is however only half of the 1,150 of the 2008/09 season). In 2009/10, 182 different marked Teal individuals have been resighted. Since the beginning of the program, 4,176 Teal have been fitted with a nasal saddle, leading to 6,962, among which 276 were in foreign countries – see the map of foreign recoveries.


• Arzel, C., Elmberg, J. & Guillemain, M. 2006. Ecology of spring migrating Anatidae : a review. Journal of Ornithology, 147 : 167-184.


• Arzel, C., Guillemain, M., Gurd, B., Elmberg, J., Fritz, H., Arnaud, A., Pin, C. & Bosca, F. 2007. Experimental functional response and inter-individual variation in the foraging efficiency of Teal (Anas crecca). Behavioural Processes 75(1) : 66-71.


• Arzel, C., Elmberg, J. & Guillemain, M. 2007. A flyway perspective of foraging activity in Eurasian Teal Anas crecca. Canadian Journal of Zoology 85 : 81-91.


● Arzel, C., Elmberg, J., Guillemain, M., Lepley, M., Bosca, F., Legagneux, P. & Nogues, J.B. 2009. A flyway perspective on food resource availability in a long-distance migrant, the Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca crecca). Journal of Ornithology, 150 : 61-73.

● Brochet, A.L., Guillemain, M., Gauthier-Clerc, M., Fritz, H. & Green, A.J. 2010. Endozoochory of Mediterranean aquatic plant seeds by teal after a period of desiccation : Determinants of seed survival and influence of retention time on germinability and viability. Aquatic Botany 93 : 99-106.

● Brochet, A.L., Guillemain, M., Fritz, H., Gauthier-Clerc, M. & Green, A.J. 2010. Seed dispersal by teal (Anas crecca) in the Camargue (southern France) : duck guts are more important than their feet. Freshwater Biology 55 : 1262-1273.

● Brochet, A.L., Gauthier-Clerc, M., Guillemain, M., Fritz, H., Waterkeyn, A., Baltanás, Á. & Green, A.J. 2010. Field evidence of dispersal of branchiopods, ostracods and bryozoans by teal (Anas crecca) in the Camargue (southern France). Hydrobiologia 637 : 255-261.

● Brochet, A.L., Guillemain, M., Fritz, H., Gauthier-Clerc, M. & Green, A.J. 2009. The role of migratory ducks in the long-distance dispersal of native plants and the spread of exotic plants in Europe. Ecography 32 : 919-928.

● Brochet, A.L., Guillemain, M., Lebarbenchon, C., Simon, G., Fritz, H., Green, A., Renaud, F., Thomas, F. & Gauthier-Clerc, M. 2009. The potential distance of highly pathogenic avian influenza dispersal by Mallard, Teal and Pochard. Ecohealth 6 : 449-457.

● Calenge, C., Guillemain, M., Gauthier-Clerc, M. & Simon, G. A new exploratory approach to the study of the spatio-temporal distribution of ring recoveries - the example of Teal (Anas crecca) ringed in Camargue, Southern France. Journal of Ornithology, sous presse.

● Devineau, O., Guillemain, M., Johnson, A.D. & Lebreton, J-D. 2010. A comparison of green-winged teal Anas crecca survival and harvest between Europe and North America. Wildlife Biology 16 : 12-24.

• Dawson, R.D. & Clark, R.G. 2000. Effects of hatching date and egg size on growth, recruitment and adult size of lesser scaup. Condor 102 : 930-935.


• Deceuninck, B., Maillet, N., Mahéo, R., Kerautret, L. & Riols, C. 1997. Dénombrements d’Anatidés et de foulques hivernant en France - Janvier 1996. Rapport Wetlands International / Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Ministère de l’Environnement - Direction de la Nature et des Paysages.


• Deceuninck, B., Maillet, N., Kerautret, L., Riols, C. & Mahéo, R. 1998. Dénombrements d’Anatidés et de foulques hivernant en France - Janvier 1997. Rapport Wetlands International / Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Ministère de l’Environnement - Direction de la Nature et des Paysages.


• Deceuninck, B., Maillet, N., Kerautret, L., Riols, C. & Mahéo, R. 1999. Dénombrements d’Anatidés et de foulques hivernant en France à la mi-Janvier 1998. Rapport Wetlands International / Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Ministère de l’Environnement - Direction de la Nature et des Paysages.


• Deceuninck, B., Maillet, N., Kerautret, L., Riols, C. & Mahéo, R. 2000. Dénombrements d’Anatidés et de foulques hivernant en France à la mi-Janvier 1999. Rapport Wetlands International / Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Ministère de l’Environnement - Direction de la Nature et des Paysages.


• Delany, S., Reyes, C., Hubert, E., Pihl, S., Rees, E., Haanstra, L. & Van Strien, A. 1999. Results from the International Waterbird Census in the Wastern Palearctic and Southwest Asia 1995 and 1996. Wetlands International Publication 54. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


• Fouque, C., Guillemain, M., Leray, G., Joyeux, E., Mondain-Monval, J.Y., & Schricke, V. 2005. Distribution des effectifs hivernaux de sarcelle d’hiver Anas crecca en France et tendances d’évolution sur les 16 derniers hivers. Faune sauvage 267 : 19-30.


● Fouque, C., Guillemain, M. & Schricke, V. 2009. Trends in the number of Coot Fulica atra and wildfowl Anatidae wintering in France, and their relationship with hunting activity at wetland sites. Wildfowl Special issue 2 : 42-59.


• Goss-Custard, J.D., Caldow, R.W.G., Clarke, R.T., Durell, S.E.A. le V. dit. & Sutherland, W.J. 1995. Deriving population parameters from individual variations in foraging behaviour. I. Empirical game-theory distribution model of oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus feeding on mussels Mytilus edulis. Journal of Animal Ecology 64 : 277-289.


• Guillemain, M. 2000. Le fonctionnement du peuplement de canards des marais de l’Ouest : compromis entre compétition et vigilance dans les stratégies d’alimentation individuelles. Thèse de Doctorat, Université Paris VI.


• Guillemain, M., Caldow, R.W.G., Stillman, R.A. & Goss-Custard, J.D. 2002. Towards behaviour-based models of dabbling duck population dynamics. European Journal of Wildlife Research 48 Supplement : 1-6.


• Guillemain, M., Sadoul, N. & Simon, G. 2005. European flyway permeability and abmigration in Teal (Anas crecca), based on ringing recoveries. Ibis 147 : 688-696.


• Guillemain, M., Dehorter, O., Johnson, A.R. & Simon, G. 2005. A test of the wintering strategy hypothesis with teal (Anas crecca) ringed in the Camargue, southern France. Journal of Ornithology, 146(2) : 184-187.


• Guillemain, M., Mondain-Monval, J.Y., Johnson, A.R. & Simon, G. 2005. Long-term climatic trend and body size variation in Teal (Anas crecca). Wildlife Biology, 11 : 81-88.


• Guillemain, M., Arzel, C., Legagneux, P., Elmberg, J., Fritz, H., Lepley, M., Pin, C., Arnaud, A. & Massez, G. 2006. Risky foraging leads to cost-free mate guarding in male teal Anas crecca. Journal of Ornithology 148 : 251-254.


• Guillemain, M., Arzel, C., Mondain-Monval, J.Y., Schricke, V., Johnson, A.R. & Simon, G. 2006. Spring migration dates of Teal ringed in the Camargue, Southern France. Wildlife Biology 12(2) : 163-170.


• Guillemain, M., Devineau, O., Lebreton, J.D., Mondain-Monval, J.Y., Johnson, A.R. & Simon, G. 2007. Lead shot and Teal (Anas crecca) in the Camargue, Southern France : effects of embedded and ingested pellets on survival. Biological Conservation 137 : 567-576.


• Guillemain, M., Arzel, C., Legagneux, P., Elmberg, J., Fritz, H., Lepley, M., Pin, C., Arnaud, A. & Massez, G. 2007. Teal (Anas crecca) adjust foraging depth to predation risk : a flyway-level circum-annual approach. Animal Behaviour 73 : 845-854.


• Guillemain, M., Fritz, H., Johnson, A.R. & Simon, G. 2007. What type of lean ducks do hunters kill ? Weakest local ones rather than migrants. Wildlife Biology 13(1) : 102-107.


• Guillemain, M., Poisbleau, M., Denonfoux, L., Lepley, M., Moreau, C., Massez, G., Leray, G., Caizergues, A., Arzel, C., Rodrigues, D. & Fritz, H. 2007. Multiple tests of the effect of nasal saddles on dabbling ducks : combining field and aviary approaches. Bird Study 54 : 35-45.


• Guillemain, M., Lepley, M., Massez, G., Caizergues, A., Rodrigues, D. & Figueiredo, M. 2008. Addendum : Eurasian Teal Anas crecca nasal saddle loss in the Camargue, France. Bird Study 55 : 135-138.


• Guillemain, M., Elmberg, J., Arzel, C., Johnson, A.R. & Simon, G. 2008. The income-capital breeding dichotomy revisited : late winter body condition is related to breeding success in an income breeder. Ibis 150 : 172-176.


● Guillemain, M., Mondain-Monval, J.Y., Weissenbacher, E. & Brochet, A.L. 2008. Hunting bag and distance from the day-roost in Camargue ducks. Wildlife Biology, 14 : 379-385.

● Guillemain, M., Hearn, R., King, R., Gauthier-Clerc, M., Simon, G. & Caizergues, A. 2009. Comparing migration of Teal from two main wintering areas of Western Europe : a long term study from Essex, England, and Camargue, France. Ringing and Migration 24 : 273-276.

● Guillemain, M., Fuster, J., Lepley, M., Mouronval, J.B. & Massez, G. 2009. Winter site fidelity is higher than expected for Eurasian Teal Anas crecca in the Camargue, France Bird Study 56 : 272-275.

● Guillemain, M., Hearn, R., King, R., Gauthier-Clerc, M., Simon, G. & Caizergues, A. 2009. Differential migration of the sexes cannot be explained by the body size hypothesis in Teal. Journal of Ornithology 150 : 685-689.

● Guillemain, M., Bertout, J.M., Christensen, T.K., Pöysä, H., Väänänen, V.M., Triplet, P., Schricke, V. & Fox, A.D. 2010. How many juvenile Teal Anas crecca reach the wintering grounds ?Flyway-scale survival rate inferred from age-ratio during wing examination. Journal of Ornithology 151 : 51-60.

● Guillemain, M., Devineau, O., Brochet, A-L., Fuster, J., Fritz, H., Green, A.J. & Gauthier-Clerc, M. What is the spatial unit for a wintering Teal Anas crecca ? weekly day-roost fidelity inferred from nasal saddles in the Camargue, Southern France. Wildlife Biology, sous presse.

● Guillemain, M., Devineau, O., Gauthier-Clerc, M., Hearn, R., King, R., Simon, G. & Grantham, M. Changes in ring recovery rates over the last 50 years : shall we continue to ring ducks ? Journal of Ornithology, sous presse.

● Guillemain, M., Elmberg, J., Gauthier-Clerc, M., Massez, G., Hearn, R., Champagnon, J. & Simon, G. Wintering French Mallard and Teal are heavier and in better body condition than 30 years ago : effects of a changing environment ? Ambio, sous presse.

• Lokemoen, J.T. & Sharp, D.E. 1985. Assessment of nasal marker materials and design used on dabbling ducks. Wildlife Society Bulletin 13 : 53-56.


• Mondain-Monval, J.Y. & Girard, O. 2000. Le Canard Colvert, la Sarcelle d’Hiver et autres canards de surface. Enquête nationale sur les tableaux de chasse à tir saison 1998-1999. Cahiers Techniques - Faune Sauvage 251 : 124-139.


• Monval, J.Y. & Pirot, J.Y. 1989. Results of the IWRB International Waterfowl Census 1967-1986. IWRB Spec. Publ. 8, Slimbridge, UK.


• Pettifor, R.A., Caldow, R.W.G., Rowcliffe, J.M., Goss-Custard, J.D., Black, J.M., Hodder, K.H., Houston, A.I., Lang, A. & Webb, J. 2000. Spacially explicit, individual-based, behavioural models of the annual cycle of two migratory goose populations. Journal of Applied Ecology 37 (Suppl. 1) : 103-135.


• Pradel, R., Rioux, N., Tamisier, A. & Lebreton, J.D. 1997. Individual turnover among wintering Teal in Camargue : a mark-recapture study. Journal of Wildlife Management 61 : 816-821.


• Rodrigues, D., Fabiao, A. & Figueiredo, M.E.M.A. 2000. Monthly survival rates of a European resident mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) population during the shooting season. 2nd North American duck symposium, Saskatoon, Canada, 11-15 October 2000.


• Scott, D.A. & Rose, P.M. 1996. Atlas of Anatidae populations in Africa and Western Eurasia. Wetlands International Publ. 41, Wageningen, The Netherlands.



Literature on Teal


Last updated June 7th 2010