Northern shoveler


Northern shoveler (Anas clypeata)

The Northern shoveler (Anas clypeata) is a duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
English name:
Northern shoveler
German name:
French name:
Canard souchet
Scientific name:
Anas clypeata

Scientific classification




The breeding drake has an iridescent dark green head, white breast and chestnut belly and flanks. In flight, pale blue forewing feathers are revealed, separated from the green speculum by a white border. In early fall the male will have a white crescent on each side of the face. In non-breeding (eclipse) plumage, the drake resembles the female.

The female is a drab mottled brown like other dabblers, with plumage much like a female mallard, but easily distinguished by the long broad bill, which is gray tinged with orange on cutting edge and lower mandible.The female's forewing is gray.

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Northern shoveler measures approximately 46-56 centimeters. The female measures approximately 46-53 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 480-890 gram. The female will weight about 480-820 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

Northern shovelers are hardy, but shelter should be provided in prolonged frosts. Warm, sunny ponds with shallow muddy water, shallow, well-grown shore vegetation and adjoining grass areas are preferred, particularly a large enclosure supporting natural animal food. Easy to manage but can be aggressive (somewhat territorial while nesting) and may be a problem in mixed collections, particularly while breeding, unless on a very large pool/lake.

Commonly bred in captivity. Nest in vegetation such as grass and reeds, eggs laid April to May or June. These are reliable breeders but susceptible to predators, therefore eggs removal is suggested. A second and even a third clutch may be laid if the clutches are removed. Ducklings may be delicate and difficult to get going initially. Fine-particle food dropped onto water useful for feeding ducklings initially, and live insects as well as starter crumbs, also duckweed.

These ducks may hybridise with other Anas spp. and hybrids have been reported also with Wood duck (Aix sponsa) , Ferruginous pochard (Aythya nyroca) and Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata), but not usually once firmly paired.

The shoveler prefers to nest in grassy areas away from open water. Their nest is a shallow depression on the ground, lined with plant material and down. The drakes are very territorial during breeding season and will defend their territory and partners from competing males. 

The female Northern shoveler usually lays from 8-12 cream to pale buff eggs and incubates them for 26-28 days.

Bird banding:
Recommended leg band size for the Northern shoveler is 9 mm.
The leg band can only be applied on a young duck at around 12 days old.

It doesn't matter what leg that you band, but it is good to have a consistent system.
Suggested: Left leg = Female, Right leg = Male
Preferred food:
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Europese soort

Het is niet verboden om deze vogels te houden die van nature in Nederland voorkomen, op voorwaarde dat deze vogels in gevangenschap zijn geboren; nakweek dus. Deze vogels zijn voorzien van een gesloten pootring. Het is wel verboden om deze vogels te houden die in het wild gevangen zijn. Alleen bepaalde instanties, zoals vogelasiels en vogelhospitalen, zijn bevoegd om jonge en gewonde wilde vogels te houden. Deze bescherming van vogels wordt vormgegeven door schadelijke handelingen te verbieden zoals:het doden, verwonden, vangen, bemachtigen en met het oog daarop opsporen van vogels (art. 9 Flora- en faunawet); het opzettelijk verontrusten van vogels (art. 10 Flora- en faunawet);het beschadigen, vernielen, uithalen, wegnemen en verstoren van nesten, holen of andere voortplantings- of vaste rust- of verblijfplaatsen van vogels (art. 11 Flora- en faunawet);en het zoeken, rapen, uit het nest nemen, beschadigen of vernielen van eieren van vogels (art. 12 Flora- en faunawet).

Photos of the Northern shoveler

Videos of the Northern shoveler