Harteman Wildfowl Aviaries | educating since 1998

Northern shoveler

Spatula clypeata (Anas clypeata)

Slobeend / Australische Löffelente / Souchet d'Australie


Spatula clypeataLinnaeus 1758, was previously placed in the genus Anas.


The northern shoveler, sometimes known simply 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 insouthern Europe, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and Central, and northern South America. It is a rare vagrant toAustralia. 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.


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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not 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).


More information: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22680247/0



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


Northern shoveler in aviculture

Written by Dan Cowell

Shovelers need lots of thick vegetation to build and hide their nests. The breeding season in the northern hemispere begins in late April and may last until early June. Hens lay a clutch of about 9 to 12 that are incubated for about 26 days.
The ducklings are similar to little Cinnamon teal, and do not grow their characteristic spoonbill until they are a few weeks old. Most Shovelers do not breed until they are two years old.
A truly unique duck for any collection, Shovelers are great ducks for beginners and for those with mixed collections. They prefer to have larger ponds than other species, as they constantly will sift through the water wtih their bills. Shovelers are winter hardy, but will need some protection from the cold.
They have been known to cross with Cinnamon and Blue-winged teal in captivity and in the wild.



Above: adult drake Northern shoveler, breeding plumage



Above: adult drake Northern shoveler, breeding plumage



Above: adult drake Northern shoveler, breeding plumage



Above: adult female Northern shoveler



Above: close-up of an adult drake Northern shoveler, moulting plumage



Above: adult drake Northern shoveler, moulting plumage



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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