Northern Shoveler

northern shoveler
Northern shovelers (aka spoonies, bootlips, smiling mallards) are so named for their conspicuous spatula-like bill.

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) is named for its conspicuously spatula-like bill (i.e. the Spatula genus). This is by far the most distinctive attribute that makes these medium-sized dabblers stand out. Drake northern shovelers tend to have black bill color, while hens possess the typical yellow-orange bill. Other defining characteristics for both sexes are yellow eyes, bright orange legs, and short tail. Identification during flight includes the “hunched” appearance of the body, relatively narrow wings and slow wingbeat. Similarly to other species within the Spatula genus, northern shovelers have prominent blue upper wing and flashy green speculum which are divided by a white line of plumage. As compared to blue-winged teal drakes, northern shoveler drake wings are distinguished by visibly white primary feather shafts. Drake northern shovelers have dark green-blue head and neck (darker than the typical mallard green), stark white chest, and blocky, light chestnut plumage directly under the wings. Hens are mottled brown.