Birder’s Notebook; Northern Shoveler

Birder’s Notebook by Bob Andrini; 27 March Entry.   Among the early spring migrants is the Northern Shoveler. Looking at the picture, you can see why the birds get its name – with the shovel-shaped bill.

The scientific name, Anas clypeata, comes from Latin, Anas = duck, and clypeata = shield (possibly because of the reddish patches on flanks of male – looks like shield).

Males are easily identified from the female by his green head, white chest, and chestnut brown flanks – females are mottled brown with orange-tinged bill.

The Shoveler feeds by dipping its head under the water meanwhile swimming often in circles. The circles will create a whirlpool effect that brings materials off the bottom to be filtered by means of the long comb like hairs that line the bill.

Pictures were taken this March at Mirador Subdivision Ponds in North Aurora, Illinois.

Shoveler in Flight photo by Bob Andrini
Shoveler Gang photo by Bob Andrini

One thought on “Birder’s Notebook; Northern Shoveler

  1. Bill Rogers is watching shovelers at Amboy Marsh Nature Preserve on the Big Marsh right this minute. Beautiful birds!

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