Northern Shoveler uses its unique large flattened bill to strain water for small
aquatic plants and animals. They are a common summer duck in the state.
Habitat: Ponds, lakes, and marshes. In the
summer breeding season in the state, they nest in upland habitats, usually
short grass areas with shallow water nearby.
Diet: Omnivorous. Summer
eats mix of aquatic plants, grasses, insects, crustaceans, small fish, and
seeds. Winter diet is primarily seeds and plant material.
Behavior: Forages by swimming slowly with bill
submerged just below the surface. Food items are gathered by filtering
water through the unique bill. Unlike some other dabbling ducks, they
rarely will feed on land.
Nesting: May through July. The nest of a
Northern Shoveler is a shallow depression on the ground, lined with grasses and
weeds with an inner layer of down. The female usually lays 8 to 12 eggs,
and she alone incubates them. The young leave the nest soon after
hatching, and find their own food. The female tends to them and protects
them until they learn to fly at about 8 weeks.
Song: Male took, took, took during
Migration: Summers throughout much of
western Canada and the western half of the United States, and locally around the
Great Lakes. Winters
in the southern U.S. and along the coasts, as well as Mexico.
Similar Species: Mallard
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Northern Shoveler"
eNature.com: Northern Shoveler
Photo Information: April 11th, 2010 -- Western Minnehaha
County -- Terry L. Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Northern Shoveler photos.