Photo: USFWS

Shovelers are slightly larger than teal and have a large spoon-shaped bill. Males are largely black and white with rufous-red belly and sides, white breast and green head. Females are mottled brown. Both sexes have chalky-blue shoulder patches and green speculums. On the water, shovelers sit low with the bill pointed downward, and show the most white of any dabbling duck.

Flying shovelers show an alternating pattern of dark-light-dark-light-dark from head to tail. They have a hump-backed appearance unlike other dabblers. Look for the large spoon-shaped bill and large, pale-blue shoulder patches. The usual flight is steady and direct, but the small flocks twist and turn like teal when startled.

Shoveler Key Field Marks

Medium-sized dabbling duck with long, spoon-shaped bill, green speculum.



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