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Kuruwhengi (female) - New Zealand Shoveler - Anas rhynchotis

Photographed at Travis Wetland, Christchurch New Zealand.

 

A species of dabbling duck in the genus Anas.

 

Found throughout the North and South Island of New Zealand. Prefer fertile, shallow wetlands, usually near the sea. Uncommon in flowing rivers or high country lakes.

 

Partially protected native, limited take allowed in duck shooting season.

 

Length 49cm, males (650g) slightly heavier than females. Heavy spatulate bill. Sits low in the water. Nest is a down-lined bowl of grass usually in tall grass away from water. Average clutch of 11 pale blue-white eggs. Male guards the female while she is laying and for a short time after, thereafter she broods, hatches and raises the duckling on her own.

 

A shy duck they tend to avoid city ponds but are found in good numbers on Travis Wetland in spite of the fact that it is within Christchurch city, probably because the wetland is very large and the ducks can stay well away from the houses that line the reserve’s borders.

 

Difficult to approach for photography. Their first nervous response to an approaching human is to tuck their head away and spin in tight circles on the water. Approaching closer prompts a rapid, low-slung swim away followed by flight. However sitting quietly and concealed has its reward as the birds usually return to their territory quite quickly.

 

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Taken on June 17, 2012