Saturday, February 12, 2011

Northern Shoveler - Male Eclipse or Juvenile?

There were several Northern Shovelers feeding in Canvas Lake very near the road just before marker 11 on the auto tour at RNWR Wednesday. I pulled over to the side and found areas that I could peek through the tall grass to take pictures.
The top image shows a male and a female in typical plumage for this time of year. The bottom image is either a juvenile male or an adult male that is very late in changing out of eclipse plumage. Two things point to a male; the sprinkling of green feathers on its head and the pale eye. Since the eye isn't bright yellow, I would tend towards this being a juvenile. Cornell's site states that adult males, in all forms of plumage, have bright yellow eyes.

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