New Hampshire PBS
   share this page
NATUREWORKS!
Home     About     Watch     Nature Files     Teachers     Order DVD     Contact

Northern Shoveler - Spatula clypeata


Characteristics
Range
Habitat
Diet
Life Cycle
Behavior
 Classification
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Anseriformes
 Family: Anatidae
 Genus: Spatula

Northern Shoveler

ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern
    Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Patrik Aberg cc logo
  Characteristics

Northern ShovelerThe northern shoveler is a medium-sized dabbling duck. Its most unique feature is its large shovel-shaped bill. During the breeding season, male shovelers have shiny green heads, a white body, rusty-red undersides, and black wings. In non-breeding season their color is a little duller and their head and breast are brown. Male shovelers have yellow eyes and a black bill.

Northern ShovelerFemale northern shovelers have mottled brown, black and white feathers and a blue patch on their wings. Their eyes are brown and their bill is a brownish green.

  Range

mapThe northern shoveler breeds from Alaska east to northern Manitoba and south to California and the Great Lakes region. It winters from Oregon south to California and east across the southern United States and up the east coast to New Jersey. It also winters in Mexico, Central America, northern South America, and the Caribbean.

  Habitat

Northern ShovelerThe northern shoveler can be found in marshes and prairie potholes. It needs habitats with shallow water with muddy bottoms.

 

  Diet
Northern ShovelerThe northern shoveler is a filter feeder. It skims its bill just above the bottom of a pond or lake and sucks water into the front of its bill, then it uses the comb-like teeth on its bill to strain out plants and aquatic animals. It squirts the water out of the sides of its bill.
  Life Cycle

Northern ShovelerThe female lays eight to twelve eggs in a nest made of grass and leaves and lined with down and feathers. The nest is built on the ground under a bush or in tall vegetation. The female incubates the eggs.

Northern ShovelerThey hatch in about three weeks. Soon after hatching, the female leads her ducklings to the the water and teaches them how to catch insects and find plants to eat. The ducklings fledge in 40 to 70 days.

  Behavior
During the heat of the day, the shoveler often rests on the  mud next to the water.



 


Advertisement: