Common Shoveler

Common Shoveler

Scientific Classification

Common Name
common shoveler, northern shoveler
Genus Species
Spatula clypteata (shielded)
This species was previously placed in the Genus Anas (duck).

Fast Facts

This is a small duck with a flat head and a long spatulate bill and large pale blue wing patches. The head is a glossy black with green, the breast white, the belly and sides reddish and legs orange.
42.5 to 50 cm (17 to 20 in.) long; wingspan 67.5 to 82.5 cm (27 to 33 in.)
Approximately 0.56 to 0.67 kg (1.25 to 1.5 lbs.)
Their diet consists of small aquatic invertebrates such as adult and larval insects, mollusks, planktonic crustaceans, the seeds of emergent and aquatic plants, annelids, amphibian spawn, tadpoles, spiders, fish and the vegetative parts of aquatic plants.
22 to 24 days
Clutch Size
10 to 12 eggs
Fledging Duration
39 to 49 days
Sexual Maturity
1 to 2 years
Life Span
1 to 2 years
The common shoveler has an extremely large range and can be found from Alaska to Columbia and Venezuela, Europe, Russia, India, SE Asia, Japan and the Philippines.
This species inhabits permanent shallow freshwater wetlands from sea level up to 2,900 m (9,500 ft), preferred sites being those surrounded by dense stands of reeds or other emergent vegetation while being free of overhanging trees or fringing forest. Copious submerged aquatic vegetation sheltering abundant planktonic invertebrates is a valuable habitat characteristic.
Global: estimated at 6,500,000 to 7,000,000 individuals. The European population is estimated at 170,000 to 233,000 pairs, which equates to 340,000 to 466,000 mature individuals. The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations may be increasing and others have unknown trends.
IUCN: Least concern
CITES: Appendix III
USFWS:  Not listed

Fun Facts

  1. Males are called drakes, females are hens, and young are ducklings.
  2. The Common Shoveler has a bill with comb-like serrations along the upper and lower mandibles. Scientists believe this feature aids in filter feeding.

Ecology and Conservation

The Common Shoveler is hunted for sport in North America, Denmark, and Italy, and is hunted commercially and recreationally in Iran.

This species is threatened by habitat loss in Britain and Ireland.

These ducks are a plentiful food source for local carnivores and birds of prey.


Austin, G. Birds of the World. New York. Golden Press, Inc., 1961.

Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. UK. Blandford Books Ltd., 1981.

Johnsgard, P. Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World. Lincoln. Univ. Of Neb. Press, 1978.

BirdLife International. 2016. Spatula clypeata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22680247A86018682. Downloaded on 07 November 2018