Thursday, 2 July 2015

Australasian Shoveler

The Australasian Shoveler (Anas rhynchotis) is an attractive coloured duck with a massive bill, which is used to filter feed small critters mostly at night. They spend much of the day sleeping/loafing/resting with other duck species either on the water or on banks beside the water. They are wary birds and not easy to approach for photos, so getting close recently with the aid of a carefully executed plan developed by a birding mate, (thanks JS) using a small swag tent as a temporary hide resulted in some reasonable images of the male and female Shoveler plus a couple of Grey Teal shots.  
The Shovelers, about eight, were associating with a large flock of Grey Teal. The large flock of teal proved good cover for the Shovelers as there were many eyes and ears keeping a lookout for predators such a Spotted Harrier, Swamp Harrier and Peregrine Falcons, which were all present in the area at the time the photos were taken.
Male Australasian Shoveler
The massive bill is used to filter feed.
As the Shovelers were resting they mostly held their heads close to the body giving the appearance of no neck.
The hooked point on the end of the bill is a lighter grey colour similar to Pacific Black Duck and Mallards.
The somber brown female Shoveler.
This shot gives a size comparison between the Shoveler and the Hardhead behind, which has a much longer neck.
The Grey Teal provided the Shovelers with good protection against predator raptors.
This teal was caught in an interesting pose as it groomed.

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