Northern Shoveler

Waterfowl Identification

The Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata, is so named because of its large distinctive spoon-shaped bill – black in the drake and brown in the hen.

The drake has a green head and neck, a white breast, brown sides and pale blue shoulder patches. The hen is buff and light brown with grayish shoulder patches. In flight Northern Shovelers can be confused with Blue-winged Teal because of similar pale blue shoulder patches, however Shovelers are larger in size.
Image comparing drake and hen/UISFWS Drake images

Shovelers, 'spoonbills' to many, are early migrants, moving out at the first frost. The largest numbers are in the Central and Pacific flyways.

The usual flight is steady and direct. When startled, the small flocks twist and turn in the air like teal. They are not highly regarded as table birds, because one third of the usual diet is animal matter.

Length: 19 1/2"
Weight: 1 1/2 lbs.

Image comparing fulvous and Black-bellied whistling ducks wings/USFWS


 Distribution Map

Similar Species

In Flight
In flight illustration/USFWS In flight illustration/USFWS Flock Pattern

Drakes call woh-woh and took-took; the hen's quack is feeble.

Last Updated: November 14, 2018