This is a very easy duck to tell apart from others likely to be seen within its range - it has a hugely developed shovel shaped bill which it uses for sifting food items from the surface water.
The male is also a very handsome bird with a dark green head (yellow eye), white neck and breast and chestnut underparts. The wing has a pale blue section in front but at rest the long striped scapulars are what you see. This duck is found right round the Northern Hemisphere (except Eastern North America - American name Northern Shoveler). Few stay in the breeding area for the winter and it seeks unfrozen freshwater areas from Britain to mid-Africa, in India and SE Asia, the Southern United States Southwards to Latin America and the Caribbean.
The birds pair off in the winter well before migrating to the breeding grounds. Probably less than 1,500 pairs breed in Britain and only about 100 in Ireland.
The Schnozzle Durante of the duck world.
Length 480 mm Closed wing 233 mm Weight 600 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead