Belongs to: dabbling ducks

Compare with: mallard

Shoveler Anas clypeata

BoCC Amber list

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Medium-sized duck with large spatulate bill, often seen dabbling

Breeds on marshes and meadows with plenty of cover; on estuaries, reservoirs and lakes in winter

Resident species although breeding numbers quite low; widespread in winter


Male: black and white but for bottle green head and chestnut flanks; female mottled brown with grey/orange bill; 50 cm

Feeds by sweeping large bill through water and wet mud, eating plants, molluscs and crustaceans

Clumsy on land; shows pale blue forewing in strong flight


Drake and duck circle their territory in courtship flight

Nest is a deep hollow lined with grass and down

One brood of 8–12 buff or green eggs, April–May, incubated by duck, who also looks after the ducklings

© David Harrison