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Anas clypeata

This duck really lives up to its name, with a huge shovel-like bill, which it uses to feed by sweeping it to-and-fro in the water.

All about shovelers

A common dabbling duck, it breeds in small numbers in the UK, but is widespread in winter.

Male shovelers have iridescent dark green heads, white breasts and orangey-brown sides during the breeding season. Females are mottled brown, with a pale blue forewing and are easily distinguished from other dabblers by their long broad bills, which are grey with orange on their cutting edges and lower half.

Watch out because shoveler look a bit like a shelduck from a distance and people can confuse them. Take a closer look though and you will notice they are different colours with very different bills.


Conservation status

Shovelers are amber listed in the UK. They are a qualifying feature for the Chichester and Langstone Harbours Special Protection Area – that means, when the site was designated, a nationally significant number used these coastlines in the winter.

Did you know?

Its uniquely shaped bill has over 100 fine projections along its edges, that filter out tiny crustaceans and seeds from the water.