Kuruwhengi/Australasian Shoveler Anas rhynchotis
Native. Not threatened.
The shoveler is a dabbling duck, getting most of its food from the surface of water or mud which it filters through the lamellae (hair-like structures) on the upper edge of the top mandible (bill). Invertebrates and seeds form the bulk of their diet. The beak itself is a major feature of the species and the shape gives the bird its name.
Males are quite distinctive with their blue-grey head and neck with a white crescent at the base of their bill. Mottled brown and white breast, chestnut flanks, and a white patch at the base of the tail. Females are a mottled brown with dull brown bill and eyes. Out of the breeding season some males may develope female-like plumage.
Lowland coastal swamps, freshwater lakes and wetlands plus occasionally the open sea are favoured habitats for this fast flying species. It is seen in the Estuary at most time of the years but is most abundant in the shooting season when the area provides security away from the guns.