Shoveler - Spatula clypeata

Alternative names
Anas clypeata

Shovelers are surface feeing ducks with huge spatulate bills. Males have dark green heads, with white breasts and chestnut flanks. Females are mottled brown. In flight birds show patches of light blue and green on their wings. In the UK they breed in southern and eastern England, especially around the Ouse Washes, the Humber and the North Kent Marshes. In winter, breeding birds move south, and are replaced by an influx of continental birds from further north. The UK is home to more than 20% of the north-western European population, making it an Amber List species.

Identification difficulty

Widespread in winter, they can be seen in large numbers at places such as Rutland Water.

When to see it

Mainly in winter

Life History

Shovelers feed by dabbling for plant food, often by swinging its bill from side to side and using the bill to strain food from the water. It also eats molluscs and insects in the nesting season. The nest is a shallow depression on the ground, lined with plant material and down, usually close to water.

UK Status

Widespread in Britain

VC55 Status

Fairly common as a winter bird in Leicestershire and Rutland, but very scarce here as a breeding bird.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Northern Shoveler, Shoveler, Shoveller
Species group:
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
25/02/1996 (Ian Retson)
Last record:
19/02/2024 (Messenger, Nigel)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

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