The Bernier teal (Anas bernieri), also known as Madagascar teal, is one of the world's rarest and least known species of wildfowl - there are only 1,500 living in the wild. The duck's common and species names both commemorate Chevalier Bernier, a French naval surgeon and naturalist who collected nearly 200 specimens of various species while stationed in Madagascar. It is endemic to Madagascar, where it is found only along the west coast in mangrove forests. The population of Madagascar teal has fallen rapidly due to habitat destruction of these mangrove forests. Teal rely on these flooded swamps for invertebrates and plant material found in the water. It rarely leaves this habitat, where it favours open shallow ponds and lakes, mostly brackish. It was first described in 1860, but because it was so poorly known, the species was considered ‘rediscovered’ when found on lakes along the west coast of Madagascar in 1969. Adult and immature birds of both sexes look the same, though males are slightly larger than females. The plumage is predominantly warm brown. The bill is reddish, and the legs and feet are a dull reddish-orange.
Bernier's (Madagascar) tealBernier's (Madagascar) teal