Look closer and you’ll see this isn’t a regular duck on the Reay Mackay Grove lakes. This colourful bird has a dark head and large dark bill, with a splash of white between the two. The body’s an almost luminous brown. They seem to hang out in groups. He aha tērā? What is that?
Photo by Miraz Jordan. Used with permission.
Answer: it’s a kuruwhengi, Australasian shoveler:
Identification: Length: 46 - 53 cm; Weight: 570 - 850 g (male); 545 - 745 g (female)
Similar species: Northern shoveler
A medium-sized dabbling duck with a large black spoon-shaped bill, yellow eyes and orange legs. Breeding plumage males have a blue-grey head and neck with a white crescent at the base of the bill, mottled brown and white breast, chestnut flanks, and a white patch at the tail base; females are mottled light brown with a dull brown bill and eyes, and brown-orange legs.