Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman

Cape shoveler

Spatula smithii (Anas smithii)

Kaapse slobeend / Südafrikanischen Löffelente / Souchet du Cap

 

Spatula smithii (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Anas.

 

The Cape shoveler is a species of dabbling duck. It is resident in South Africa, and uncommon further north in NamibiaBotswanaZimbabwe, southern AngolaLesothoMozambique, and ZambiaThis 51–53 cm long duck is non-migratory, but undertakes some local seasonal movements. It is gregarious when not breeding, and may then form large flocks.

 

This species has a large spatulate bill. Adults have speckled grey-brown plumage and dull orange legs. As with many southern hemisphere ducks, the sexes appear similar, but the male has a paler head than the female, a pale blue forewing separated from the green speculum by a white border, and yellow eyes. The female's forewing is grey.

 

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern (IUCN, 2012).

 

The only known potential threats to this species are the reduction of suitable ephemeral wetland habitats (Kear 2005b), and hybridisation with invasive Mallard Anas platyrhynchos (Hockey, et al. 2005). The species is also susceptible to avian botulism, so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the disease (Blaker 1967, van Heerden 1974).This species is hunted, and although hunting is not currently a threat, it has the potential to become one if not managed sustainably (Little, et al. 1995, Kear 2005b).

 

Taxonomy

Usually placed in Anas like most dabbling ducks, it stands well apart from such species as the mallard and together with the shovelers and their relatives forms a "blue-winged" group that may warrant separation as genus Spatula (del Hoyo and Collar 2014).

 

The binomial name of this bird commemorates the zoologist Andrew Smith.

 

More information: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22680236/0 

 

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Above: adult drake Cape shoveler (at Sylvan Heights Bird Park, NC, USA)

 

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Above: adult female Cape shoveler (at Sylvan Heights Bird Park, NC, USA)

 

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Above: adult Cape shovelers (at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, UK)

 

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Above: adult Cape shovelers (at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, UK)

 

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Above: Shoveler ID chart, four species in one picture: (1) northern shoveler, (2) Australian shoveler, (3) Cape shoveler and (4) red shoveler.

Click to enlarge.

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