Teal duck bird is the smallest of the dabbling ducks. The main feature of teal duck bird (male) in breeding plumage is a chestnut head with side panels of glossy green around the eye and extending to the rear, rimmed with pale yellow which also extends forwards to the bill. The body appears grey, and on close inspection can be seen to be finely vermiculated with dark grey on cream, and with a prominent horizontal slash of white on the folded wing that is actually the white of the scapulars showing. The stern is boldly patterned with a black-framed yellow patch on the rear flanks. The teal duck bird (female) is brown, uniformly patterned darker. The speculum is half-green, half-black.
Teal duck bird is found on ponds, lagoons and other small wetlands in the breeding season, and sometimes nests far from water. In its wintering and migration areas it occurs on a wide variety of water bodies, ideally where shallow water meets emergent vegetation. In Britain, teal duck bird is often seen on flooded pastures, marshy areas and around the margins of larger wetland habitats.
In winter and spring, Teal duck bird can be quite vocal, the males calling with a far-carrying but discreet little call "preep-preep", "plilp-plilp" or "rrhlew rrhlew", high (3kHz) in pitch yet very short (about 0.2-0.5 sec) in length. When coming from a flock of birds it is often heard in a chorus of repeated calls and becomes a melodic peeping. The teal duck bird (females) are less vocal, but their main call is similar in pattern to that of female Mallard, a series of quacking notes but higher pitched and more rapid, "uuaap uuaap uuaap", sometimes with a harsh or strangled sound.