These ducks have huge spatulate bills. The male’s breeding plumage is quite distinctive with a dark green head, a bright yellow eye, bright white breast and chestnut coloured flanks. They have a green speculum. The female is somewhat plainer with mottled brown-streaked plumage. They have grey forewings seen in flight, where as the males are pale blue.
They feed on aquatic plants and insects sifted from the water with their large bills, or from diving below the water’s surface. They build a nest near water in a down or leaf-lined hollow. The female lays 8 to 12 eggs in 1 brood from March to June. They can live for u to 20 years.
Seen all year round, on freshwater, marshes, and sheltered estuaries. They are more widespread in the winter months, but they have an RSPB Amber status.
Photographs of Shoveler (Anas clypeata), taken February 2014, park pond, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.