English Name: northern shoveler
Spanish Name: pato cucharón, pato cucharón-norteño,
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Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Often mistaken for a mallard but can be distinguished by its large, dark, shovel-shaped bill, short neck, and pale blue wing patch. Breeding male has green head, white breast, chestnut belly and flanks, white area just before the tail. Females, juveniles, and molting males are drab and mottled.
These waterfowl frequent ponds, marshes, and lakes.
Except for the Whistling-Ducks and Mallards, few ducks spend the summer breeding season in the Sonoran Desert region. Most nest in the “prairie pothole region” of southern Canada and north central United States, or around lakes in the forest or tundra regions of Canada and Alaska. However, more than 20 species of ducks can be found wintering regularly in the Sonoran Desert region.
Wherever there is water in arid country there will be concentrations of birds; often these will include some true waterbirds, seemingly quite out of place in the desert.
Ducks are the most conspicuous water birds to reach the desert. Some lakes here may host hundreds of ducks in winter, representing up to a dozen species. Only a few of these will remain to nest in this region. Most ducks arrive here from the north.