Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)


French: Canard souchet German: Löffelente Spanish: Cuchara común

Anas clypeata


, 1758,

coasts of Europe


Normally placed in Anas. Considered to be closest to S. rhynchotis. Monotypic.


Breeds in most of Nearctic and Palearctic (except High Arctic), mainly at 40–60° N. Winters S to N South America, Africa and S & SE Asia, generally at 20–40° N.

Descriptive notes

43–56 cm; 410–1100 g (but male mostly 500–800 g and female 470–750 g); wingspan 70–85 cm. Large, distinctively-shaped bill is diagnostic over... read more


Generally rather silent, but in display male utters repeated, hollow “took-a”, a louder nasal... read more


Wide variety of shallow, freshwater wetlands, preferably well-vegetated lakes and marshes with... read more

Food and feeding

Varied diet, mostly small-sized aquatic invertebrates (insects and their larvae, molluscs, crustaceans); also seeds and plant remains.... read more


Starts Apr/May, e.g. early to mid May in N Russia, but eggs from early–mid Apr in NW & C Europe and seen with young as early as... read more


Highly migratory, flying S to winter at lower latitudes in S USA, Middle America and N South... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly widespread and locally abundant. North American population was estimated at 3,300,000 birds after breeding, in the mid 1970s,... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata). 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 18 January 2020).