NORTHERN SHOVELER

NORTHERN SHOVELER(Spatula clypeata)   Visitor
DESCRIPTION: The Northern Shoveler is a dabbling duck
with a large, spatula-like bill. In its breeding plumage the drake has a dark green blackish iridescent head, a white breast and rufus sides and under parts. The wings have bands of blue, white and green. The female is similar to a mallard female, and outside the breeding season the male also looks that way. It is considered as a ‘quiet’ duck, not vocalizing frequently.
NAME: This duck got its name from its bill shape.
It’s also called ‘Spoonbill’ for that reason. The Latin genus name ‘Spatula’ means ‘spoon’, and the species name ‘clypeata’ means ‘shield bearing’.
HABITAT: Open wetlands.
DIET: The northern shoveler uses its large bill to
filter out food such as invertebrates and plant seeds.
NESTING: Although it feeds in marshes, the northern
shoveler prefers to build its nest in grassy areas.
DISTRIBUTION: Northern shovelers have healthy
population levels in North America, and are almost as abundant as the Mallards. Their main breeding area in Canada is located in the western half of the country. It is also breeding in Eurasia, where it is widespread. The ducks from North America migrate mainly to the southern USA and Mexico, and those from Eurasia spend the winter in the southern part of that continent, and Africa.
ON HAWAII: Winter visitors on Hawaii, such as the ones observed at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on Oahu, migrated either from Siberia or Alaska.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/explore?query=northern+shoveler
CONSERVATION: Northern shoveler populations appear
healthy – in the few million – and this duck is regularly hunted within
regulations.
SIMILAR SPECIES: The female might be confused with a
female Mallard.
REFERENCES: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_shoveler
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Shoveler/id
http://birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/northern_shoveler
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/northern-shoveler
https://www.ducks.ca/species/northern-shoveler/
http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/northernshoveler.htm (New Hampshire PBS)

Northern shoveler and Canada goose - Cavendish, PEI - May 14, 2017 - © Richard Smith
Northern shoveler and Canada goose – Cavendish, PEI – May 14, 2017 – © Richard Smith
Northern Shoveler male - James Campbell NWR, Oahu - © Denise Motard
Northern Shoveler male – The same duck, upright – James Campbell NWR, Oahu – © Denise Motard
Northern Shoveler female - Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park - Scotland Neck, NC - photo by Dick Daniels
Northern Shoveler female – Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park – Scotland Neck, NC – photo by Dick Daniels
Northern Shoveler feeding upside down on bottom vegetation - James Campbell NWR, Oahu - © Denise Motard
Northern Shoveler feeding upside down on bottom vegetation – James Campbell NWR, Oahu – © Denise Motard

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