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New Zealand Shoveler

new zealand shoveler

The New Zealand Shoveler is a subspecies of the Australian Shoveler, the main difference between the two is the slightly brighter breeding plumage and a more distinct facial crescent of the New Zealand variety. The criteria for separation is somewhat objective and racial distinction may not be justified.

Sex of juveniles can be distinguished by eye color. Juvenile males will start with a dark brown eye, becoming light grey-brown at six to eight weeks and then turning yellow at about four months of age. Juvenile females will retain dark brown eyes.

Most research that I have done on this species list them as unsuitable for the beginner and difficult to keep and breed in captivity. I however, disagree and have found these birds less challenging than their northern cousins. They are not aggressive and get along with other species. Most of my birds have bred at one year of age, and will accept nest boxes, an open front triangle shaped box has worked well for my birds. They also like to nest in tall grass. Clutches consist of 6-10 oval shaped eggs and  they are incubated for about 25 days. The ducklings are cared for in the same way as other species of dabbling ducks, they are not difficult to raise. Like other species of shovelers they do not acquire their shoveler shaped bill until they are about two weeks of age.
At the time of this update in 2017 sadly this species has all but disappeared from the US. What few birds do remain are badly inbred and unable to produce very many healthy offspring.

new zealand shoveler
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