Featured Bird: Northern Shovelers

At Camas

Northern shovelers: Anas clypeata

I see a lot of Northern shovelers in the places I bird regularly. They seem to be omnipresent at Camas National Wildlife Refuge and at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. I love this colorful bird and his huge shovel like bill. He was one of the first birds I intentionally identified and memorized when I began birding.

At Camas

“The aptly named Northern Shoveler has a shovel-shaped bill that quickly sets it apart from other dabbling ducks. It is a medium-sized duck that tends to sit with its rear a bit higher out of the water almost like its bill is pulling its front half down.”

At Market Lake

“Many of the dabbling ducks use their flat bills to strain food items from the water, but the big spatulate bill of the Northern Shoveler is adapted to take this habit to the extreme. Flocks of shovelers often swim along with their big bills barely submerged in front of them, straining food from the muddy soup of shallow waters.”

At Camas

Range maps on eBird show a distribution of Northern shoveler sightings across North and Central America, Europe, India, Japan, and scattered sightings throughout Asia and into Africa.

Sleeping at Market Lake

“Although its courtship, nesting behavior, postbreeding biology, and migration are generally similar to that observed in other dabbling ducks, it differs in other aspects of its life history. For example, this is the most territorial of all North American dabbling ducks, and males remain paired with females longer than in other species, in turn affecting life-history parameters such as the mating system and courtship.”

Female at Antelope Island


      1. Order – Anseriformes (ducks geese, swans, and relatives)
        1. Family – Anatidae (ducks, geese, and swans)
          1. Genus – Anas (dabbling ducks and teals)
            1. Species – Anas clypeata (northern shoveler)

At Camas

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