Northern Shoveler

Anas clypeata
Northern Shoveler specimens on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

You often see shovelers floating on the water with their head dunked in the water and their hind end pointed skywards. That's how they forage for food. They are true omnivores. They have an unusual beak, whereby the upper half extends over the lower half. This allows them to strain duckweed and aquatic animals out of the water. It is their strangely shaped bill which makes it easy to recognize them.

DC Information

Fairly common migrant and winter resident from late August to early May. Found in shallow ponds and marshes. The head of the male is dark green, the female's dull brown.

Specimen Information

The birds in this exhibit are a male in breeding plumage (left), a male in non-breeding plumage (center) and a female on the right.  Males have black bills.  Females have lighter bills, sometimes described as olive green with small dark spots, but also appearing to be orange, with or without spots apparent in current imagaes.  All have the unique bill shape that gives the bird its common name.

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalizations

Sound from xeno-canto. XC67253 Anas clypeata (Northern Shoveler)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC37573 Anas clypeata (Northern Shoveler)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC42544 Anas clypeata (Northern Shoveler)