Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Australian Shoveler (Spatula rhynchotis)


French: Canard bridé German: Halbmond-Löffelente Spanish: Cuchara australiano
Other common names: Australasian Shoveler

Anas Rhynchotis


, 1801,

New South Wales, Australia


Normally placed in genus Anas. Apparently closest to S. clypeata. New Zealand population often treated as a separate race, variegata, but differences from Australian and Tasmanian birds are trivial. Monotypic.


SW & E Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand.

Descriptive notes

46–56 cm; male 570–852 g, female 545–745 g; wingspan 70–80 cm. Unlikely to be confused given range, although with female-like plumages be aware of... read more


Vocalizations poorly described and often considered to be generally rather quiet; male in courtship... read more


Lakes, marshes, swamps and lagoons of shallow, fresh, permanent waters with abundant emergent... read more

Food and feeding

Small aquatic invertebrates, chiefly insects, but also molluscs and crustaceans; seeds and vegetative parts of aquatic plants. Feeds, often... read more


Starts Aug on Australian coast, continuting until Dec or beyond, but more variable inland where may breed at virtually any time in response... read more


Mainly sedentary within range, but also somewhat dispersive and nomadic, as some favoured areas may... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon to locally abundant, with perhaps 100,000–300,000 birds in total, of which up to 200,000 in E Australia during 1980s... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Australian Shoveler (Spatula rhynchotis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 11 December 2019).