NORTHERN SHOVELER – (Anas clypeata)
The Northern shoveler is a dabbling duck with a large, spatula-like bill, used to filter out food such as invertebrates and plant seeds. This bill shape gives the bird its name. In its breeding plumage the drake has a dark green blackish iridescent head, a white breast and rufus sides and under parts. The wings have bands of blue, white and green. The female is similar to a mallard female, and outside the breeding season the male also looks that way.
Northern shovelers have healthy population levels in North America, and are almost as abundant as the Mallards. Although it feeds in marshes, the northern shoveler prefers to build its nest in grassy areas. It is considered as a ‘quiet’ duck, not vocalizing frequently.
The northern shoveler is listed as ‘uncommon to fairly common’ on PEI, a type of classification that is due to yearly variations in observations and uneven distribution. It does nest on the island but its main breeding area in Canada is located in the western half of the country. It is also breeding in Eurasia, where it is widespread. The dabbling duck from North America migrates mainly to the southern USA and Mexico.