Northern Shoveler


Northern Shoveler

Scientific Name:  Anas clypeata

Northern Shoveler image

Northern Shoveler  Photo by:  --

Bird Type:  Duck-like Birds    464  Views


The northern shoveler species are medium sized birds, males measuring 40 to 55 cm and weighing 500 to 1100 grams. The female birds are smaller and weigh 450 to 750 grams. The wingspan is 70 to 85 cm.
The Northern Shoveler adult male in breeding plumage has dark green head and neck, black back with broad, white braces well visible in flight. On the upperwing, we can see a grey-blue shoulder patch on wing-coverts, separated from a bright green speculum by a tapered white stripe. The primaries are brown. Central rump and uppertail are blackish with white outer rectrices. On the underparts, the breast is white, whereas belly and body sides are bright chestnut. The underwing-coverts are whitish and the flight feathers are dark. Vent and undertail-coverts are blackish.
It goes into eclipse plumage in late summer after moulting. It becomes mottled brown, but it differs from the female by a white streak in front of the eye. Flanks and belly are more rufous and the head is darker.
In early autumn, it has a sub-eclipse plumage, a “mix” of breeding and eclipse plumages.
The female in breeding plumage has mottled brown plumage, black and white feathers above and blue wing patch.
In non-breeding plumage, she is darker but less than the male in eclipse.
The male has black bill, pale yellow to orange eyes, and red-orange legs and webbed feet. The bill becomes brownish in eclipse.
The female has browner bill with yellow cutting edges, dark brown eyes and orange legs and feet.
The juvenile resembles non-breeding female, with darker, more uniform upperparts and duller upperwing, while the underparts are more streaked. In young male, the wing pattern is brighter. The young female has grey-brown wing-coverts, and the green speculum is sometimes absent.


  • 44-52 cm

  • 17-20 Inch

  • green

  • blue  (Bird may have more colors)
  •    উত্তুরে খুন্তেহাঁস, পান্তামুখি হাঁস
  •    Canard souchet
  •    ગયણો, પક્તીચાંચ
  •    खंतियाहंस
  •    ನಾರ್ದನ್ ಶೆಲ್ವರ್
  •    കോരിച്ചുണ്ടൻ എരണ്ട
  •    थापट्या
  •    बेल्चाठुँडे हाँस
  •    खातहंस
  •    ஆண்டி வாத்து

The Northern Shoveler breeds in freshwater marshes, ponds and lakes with emergent and fringing vegetation and muddy margins. It occurs in prairies and tundra, usually close to shallow water.
On migration and during winter, it can be seen on open lakes, fresh marshes, estuaries and coastal lagoons, shallow waters with muddy margins and even stagnant and polluted waters, neglected by other duck species.
This species has been recorded to 4000 metres of elevation in Ethiopia in winter, and to 2800 metres on passage in Bhutan.


The broad flat bill has lamellae on the edge of the bill which acting like sieves, helping in filtering crustaceans and plankton from the water's surface. The northern shoveler species feed on invertebrates, aquatic insects, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic vegetation.


The Northern Shoveler is rather silent, but during the displays, the males produce a repeated, hollow sluk-uk also given in flight. The female utters several low quacking calls, a descending series of 5-6 notes, typical of Anas genus gak-gak-gak-ga-ga


The northern shoveler , known simply in Britain as the shoveler, is a common and widespread duck. It breeds in northern areas of Europe and Asia and across most of North America, wintering in southern Europe, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and Central, and northern South America. It is a rare vagrant to Australia. In North America, it breeds along the southern edge of Hudson Bay and west of this body of water, and as far south as the Great Lakes west to Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon.

The Northern shoveler is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. The conservation status of this bird is Least Concern.

The Northern Shoveler is known for its large, spoon-shaped bill which has more than 100 lamellae along the cutting edges. The spatulate bill is used for straining food from water.
This species breeds in temperate regions throughout the entire northern hemisphere where it frequents freshwater marshes and lakes with emergent vegetation, prairies and tundra near shallow water. It winters in N South America, Africa and S and SE Asia, in open lakes, estuaries and coastal lagoons.
The Northern Shoveler is widespread and locally abundant throughout its wide range, and the species is not currently globally threatened.
This species was described first in 1758 by Carolus Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist.

The breeding shoveler drake has an iridescent dark green head. The belly and flanks are white. The breast is reddish chestnut. The speculum of shoveler drake is green. The pale blue fore wing feathers have white border, separating them from speculum.

The long broad bill is gray and is tinged orange on the cutting edge and lower mandible.

    Resident (inc. local and altitudinal migrants)
    Former range (no recent records but may still survive)
    Summer visitor (including summer monsoon)
    Winter visitor
    Passage (autumn and/or spring) visitor
    known to be occasional, scarce or erratic
    Small isolated population (actual range smaller)  
    Isolated record(s) - one or more in the same area  
 colour coded for seasonality as per coloured ranges, black denotes unspecified season