AudioDateDownLeftRightUpCloseReportGallerySettingsGiftLanguageGridListMapMenuPhotoPlayPlusSearchStarUserIconVideo

Northern Shoveler

Anas clypeata

Order:
Anseriformes
Family:
Anatidae
Sections
  • Authors: Dubowy, Paul J.
  • Published: Jan 1, 1996
Listen

Free Introduction Article Access

The Introduction Article is just the first of 11 articles in each species account that provide life history information for the species. The remaining articles provide detailed information regarding distribution, migration, habitat, diet, sounds, behavior, breeding, current population status and conservation. Each species account also includes a multimedia section that displays the latest photos, audio selections and videos from Macaulay Library’s extensive galleries. Written and continually updated by acknowledged experts on each species, Birds of North America accounts include a comprehensive bibliography of published research on the species.

A subscription is needed to access the remaining account articles and multimedia content. Rates start at $5 USD for 30 days of complete access.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Sign In
Enlarge
Figure 1. Distribution of the Northern Shoveler in North America.

This species also breeds in Europe and Asia.

Enlarge
Adult male Northern Shoveler, breeding plumage, March 2001, Bolsa Chica, CA

; photographer Marie Reed

© Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Enlarge
Adult female Northern Shoveler, breeding plumage; Oregon, May

Malheur NWR, Oregon, May 2004.; photographer Gerrit Vyn

© Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The Northern Shoveler is a common holarctic duck with a high degree of morphological and feeding specializations. Unlike most dabbling ducks (genus Anas), it has a bill ideally suited for straining small swimming crustaceans from the water. Previous studies have shown that Northern Shovelers feed primarily by holding their bills in the water while swimming, straining out small invertebrates by continually dabbling.

Although easily recognizable, this species is less well known than other dabbling ducks such as the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Pintail (A. acuta), or Green-winged Teal (A. crecca). Even among waterfowl hunters, it rates a low standing, perhaps as much from ignorance of this species as from experience. Although this duck has been well studied in North America and the western Palearctic, less is known about its biology and habits in Asia.

As with other species of dabbling ducks, the Northern Shoveler is found in a variety of wetland habitats, including prairie potholes, saline wetlands, and lacustrine margins in summer, and in playas, coastal marshes, and rice prairies in winter. Although its courtship, nesting behavior, postbreeding biology, and migration are generally similar to that observed in other dabbling ducks, it differs in other aspects of its life history. For example, this is the most territorial of all North American dabbling ducks, and males remain paired with females longer than in other species, in turn affecting life-history parameters such as the mating system and courtship.

Recommended Citation

Dubowy, Paul J.. (1996). Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata), The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/norsho

DOI: 10.2173/bna.217