Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata): âSpooniesâ have a bill that probably no other duck would want to have. It is broad, flat, and disproportionately large. Longer than their head, it gives the bird a top heavy, ungraceful appearance. But, out of all the ducks, it is the most proficient top feeder when its dinner time. By submerging its spoon like bill in the water and using its comb-like teeth in the bill it can filter large quantities of tiny food particles. The shovelerâs distribution is wide throughout North America, Europe and Asia. The duckâs nesting range in North America is confined to the uplands of the northern states, the prairies and marshes of western Canada and up into central Alaska. Shovelers are fair weather fowl who dislike the cold in favor of warmer climates. Even before the first hint of snow they have their bags packed and head south, along with teal, headed for Mexico and other southern states. They are not impressive fliers but they are strong; one of the few that can make it to Hawaii from Alaska nonstop.
Photo Credit: USFWS
April 8, 2014
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