Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Robert T. Maytum
Photo Courtesy of Robert T. Maytum

The northern shoveler, Anas clypeata, is a dabbling duck that breeds in much of the Northern Hemisphere, and migrates southward for the winter to South America, Southern Asia, and Africa. The species can be found year-round in Utah, where it commonly breeds on the ground near fresh water marshes and ponds. During the winter, northern shovelers can also be found in brackish and salt water areas, including the area surrounding the Great Salt Lake.

Females lay six to fourteen eggs in early to late spring; the eggs, which hatch in 23 to 25 days, are incubated by the female alone. The young are tended by the female and become independent at six to seven weeks of age.

The northern shoveler eats a wide variety of aquatic plant matter, as well as small aquatic invertebrates. The species is easily distinguished by the large spoon-shaped bill that is present in both sexes.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.