Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shoveler ID?

Took this photo of a female-type shoveler at Monger Lake in Perth, WA, Australia today (Oct 23). It was noticeably paler than other female shovelers in the area and the bill was remarkably orange. The lower mandible especially was completely orange (seen from below as the bird preened). Outer rectrices are whitish but seem a bit worn and is probably an unreliable feature in this individual. Pale face seems to contrast with the body plumage, at least more than a typical Australasian Shoveler. Eye is a little paler than usual as well. The bird was not seen in flight. When I first found it, it was alone. A threesome of Aussie Shovelers (2 eclipse males and 1 female) swam past but this bird made no attempt to associate with them. Mostly just poked around the shoreline with some shelducks and didn't seem to like me getting too close.

Obviously Northern Shoveler would be a big deal down in WA, so can someone say this is within range for Australasian? Any opinions or key fieldmarks to look for that I haven't mentioned would be much appreciated.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting bird Russell. I seem to recall that younger birds tend to be paler than adult females. The lighter eye might suggest a young male but I also know that eye colour is not a great feature. I also wonder if the bill looks a little small?