The Northern Shoveler is named for its distinct large "spoon" shaped bill. The male shoveler has greenish feathers on the head and neck, the breast and belly are white, the back is black and white, and the wings have a chestnut hue, with the inner wings being bluish.
The female's belly and breast are white, the body is a brownish color, and the inner wings are bluish. The wing span of a male Northern Shoveler is nine to ten inches; and the weight is 17 to 35 ounces.
A female's wing span is 8.5 to 9/5 inches and she weighs 17 to 28 ounces.
DISTRIBUTION and HABITAT:
The distribution of the Northern Shoveler during breeding season is across Northern America, Europe, and Northern Asia. In the winter they migrate to South America, North Africa, and Southern Asia. Northern Shovelers prefer shallow saltwater or freshwater wetlands like marshes, lakes, and lagoons.
The Northern Shoveler is not aggressive. They can get along with other
dabbling ducks, diving ducks, whistling ducks and shelducks. During nesting season the male shoveler does get defensive towards other species of ducks that get too close to its territory.
Their diet includes plankton, water insects, and snails. The bill of the Northern Shoveler has hair like lamellae that filter the water and capture the small plankton.
REPRODUCTION and GROWTH:
The female may lay six to twelve eggs. The eggs are incubated for 23 to
25 days. At hatching, the bill is not shaped as a spoon or spatula. As the young ducklings grow and mature their bill will take the characteristic adult shape.