The northern shoveler is a highly specialized dabbling duck.
- Often referred to as “spoonbills” or “spoonies” because of their unique spatula-shaped bill.
- The breeding male has a green head, white body, reddish brown flanks and black bill.
- The female is grey-brown with subtle black streaking. She has an olive-green bill, a green speculum and blue shoulder patches.
- At a quick glance, a hen shoeveler could be mistaken for a female mallard.
- Northern shovelers begin pairing in December.
- Males use a variety of auditory displays.
Habitat: Northern shovelers inhabit open, shallow and muddy wetlands with an abundance of submergent vegetation.
Range: Departs from the wintering grounds in late March and are one of the last ducks to arrive on the breeding grounds. Breeds in the prairie pothole and parkland regions.
Diet: In summer, their diet is dominated by small crustaceans, seeds and larvae. In winter, they consume large quantities of small mollusks, aquatic insects and zooplankton.