Northern Shoveler

Anas clypeata

This dabbling duck looks a bit like a Mallard, but it has a distinctive spatula-shaped bill. Northern Shovelers often paddle through the water together in circles, bills submerged, each duck scooping up prey flushed by the duck in front. The comb-like edges of their bills filter little crustaceans, plankton, and other tidbits. In December, males come into their breeding plumage: they’ll have white and chestnut sides and glossy green or purple heads.

Fun Fact:
Female Northern Shovelers sometimes poop on their eggs to make them less attractive to predators.

What’s for Lunch:
Tiny shellfish

Where’s Home:
In the lagoon in winter; nests in wetlands in the Great Plains