Northern Shoveler

I spotted this Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) in one of the many irrigation ponds for local rice paddies in our neighborhood of Onohara-nishi. The pond is next to the busy 171 highway and besides a pair of Northern Shovelers, there were three roosting grey herons.

The Northern Shoveler has an amazingly large and complex beak. It is sensitive with combs on the sides that allow it to scan for invertebrates in the water. This is a food source that can only be accessed by the shovelers. The other interesting thing about the duck is that it has an extremely large range, spending time on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. The Northern Shoveler in monogamous and you can see the drab looking female below.

The Northern Shoveler is year round resident in all of Japan.


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