Once again evolutionary biologist John Avise enlightens us with a “guess the duck” post. Your job is to guess this species of duck found in North America. The reveal below the fold gives the answer, some duck facts, and a range map.
Voilà le canard:
Click “read more” to, well, read more. If you guessed this duck, you’re doing well:
ID: Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata
This is another of the “blue-winged” ducks (see the duck postings for the past two weeks) that have a large blue patch on the upper forewing, best visible in flight. A large spatulate bill gives this species its name. Especially in winter, Shovelers have a characteristic feeding behavior in which many individuals swim together in a tight circle (see photo), creating a water vortex that brings up detritus from the bottom of a shallow pond. The birds then skim and filter the water through their shovel-like bills to extract edible goodies.
JAC: Here’s a video I found showing that circling behavior of shovelers. You’ll probably want to turn the sound off. Note that as they circle, they also swing their bills from side to side to stir up the water more.
And a range map from the Cornell site: