NZ Shoveler; Kuru Whengi (Anas rhynchotis)

Endemic.

 

The shoveller can be seen on the estuary, in flocks of up to several hundred.

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The shoveler is a dabbling duck. In breeding plumage the male's head is grey with a yellow eye, the breast is dark brown with white mottling, and the back is black with white feather edges; it has a chestnut belly and orange webbed feet. The out of breeding season male and the female have mottled brown bodies and yellow-brown feet. The bill is black.

 

The shoveler prefers lowland coastal swamps, and with the advent of hunters and threats from wetland drainage has retreated to the open sea as well. Other dabbling ducks are able to graze, but the shoveler can only feed on invertebrates and seeds because its wedge-shaped beak is specially designed for sieving soft foods. It has a distinctive erratic flight and is the fastest flying duck.