These Northern Shoveler Ducks were gathered together in a tight circle at a little pond near the Polo Ridge neighborhood of The Villages, Florida on Feb. 18, 2017. The ducks were hunting for food. They circle together ’round and ’round creating a whirlpool in the pond which traps their food and they also dip their big bills into the water to catch their food and filter it with their bill. The Shovelers eat aquatic plants, and aquatic snails, small aquatic insects and small aquatic animals such as frogs, tadpoles and tiny fish. Mostly they are plant eating ducks. The Northern Shoveler is a “Dabbling duck”.
The Northern Shoveler drakes here were mostly tried-colored (blueish-black, white and rusty brown) and the hens were brown and black (the hens resemble Black Duck or Mallard hens). The main distinctive feature about these ducks is their bill. The Northern Shoveler’s bill is huge and flared at the tip – it does look like a shovel! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!