Anas clypeata (aka Spoonbill)
The head, neck, and speculum of
male northern shovelers are iridescent green,
their chests are white, and the remaining
underparts are a bright chestnut. The females are
generally a pattern of buffs and browns. Both
sexes have pale blue inner forewings and
orange-yellow legs and feet.
The most distinctive feature of
the shoveler is its bill, which is twice as wide
at the tip than at the base. This uniquely-shaped
bill accounts for this species' common names --
shoveler and spoonbill. Ducklings hatch with a
typical duckbill that enlarges as they mature.
Northern shovelers breed
throughout Eurasia and western North America, as
well as the Great Lakes region of the United
States. In winter various populations migrate to
various southern locations, from northeastern
Africa through India and southern China to Japan
and throughout Mexico and southern North America.
During the breeding season they
are found in shallow pools and marshes that have
good cover and dry areas for nesting. In the
winter they can be found near freshwater marshes,
swamps, and flooded areas.
Breeding takes place from April
through June. Nests are built on dry land close
to fresh water and consist of a cup-shaped
depression "dug" into the ground by the
female and lined with grasses and down feathers.
Between nine and eleven olive-colored eggs are
laid, and they are incubated by the female alone
for 23 to 25 days.
The male usually abandons the
female soon after incubation starts.
Ducklings are able to follow
the mother almost immediately after hatching.
They are able to fly and become independent after
40 to 45 days.
To feed, the shoveler usually
puts its head and neck down into shallow water,
takes into its bill whatever it finds there, and
swings its head from side to side. This motion
causes the mud and water in the bill to sift out
through the "teeth" edging it, leaving
the bird a "shoveful" of food to be
swallowed. A typical "shoveful" of food
consists of tiny crustaceans, molluscs, insects
and their larvae, and various pieces of
vegetation. Shovelers also eat water beetles,
small minnows, and snails.
Habits and Behaviors
Northern shovelers usually
congregate in small groups of up to twenty birds,
but may travel in larger numbers during
genus & species Anas clypeata
Animal Diversity Web http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Anas_clypeata/
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