Australasian Shoveler – Profile | Traits | Facts | Call | Diet | Breeding

Australasian shoveler

The Australasian shoveler, scientific name Spatula rhynchotis is a species of dabbling duck within the genus Spatula in Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand.

Australasian shoveler Profile

It ranges from 46 to 53 km. It lives in closely vegetated swamps. In Australia, it’s protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1974. They are found in southwestern and southeastern Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand.

The male has a blue-grey head with a vertical white crescent in front of the eyes. The standing of the Australasian shoveler is close to threatened.

Often associating with different species of geese, the Australasian Shoveler is usually seen in flocks with Pink-eared Ducks. They inhabit all kinds of wetlands, starting from terrestrial swamps and lakes to estuaries and even sheltered inshore waters.

Australasian shoveler, scientific name Spatula rhynchotis

They favor wetlands with areas of open water fringed by plentiful aquatic vegetation, the place they feed in small teams by dabbling within the mud or on the water’s floor to filter small aquatic invertebrates from the water, utilizing small grooves, or lamellae, on the sides of the birds’ spatulate bills.

The male Australasian Shoveler has a blue-grey head with a black, spoon-shaped bill. Its body is a wealthy chestnut color with white patches. Females are a duller mottled-brown color.

The shoveler is an omnivore. It eats bugs, crustaceans, and seeds. While swimming, it retains its bill below the water floor and filters out meals.

During the breeding season between August and December, the male shoveler’s normally brown neck and wing feathers change to blue-green. The feminine’s feathers are unchanged, remaining brown year-round. In desert areas, the shoveler breeds any time of year after heavy rainfall.

The Australasian Shoveler breeds at nearly any time within the arid components of the continent, synchronized with flooding rains.

Nests are constructed on the ground in dense vegetation, generally on a stump or hole of a tree that’s standing in water. The feminine alone incubates the eggs and broods the younger.

Australasian shoveler Description

The Australasian Shoveler is a low-floating, darkish-headed duck, with a low sloping brow mixing to a heavy, square-cut, shovel-tipped bill.

The male in breeding plumage has a deep grey-blue head with a vertical white crescent between the bright-yellow eye and the bill The back and rump are black, and the shoulder and wing coverts are blue-grey with a number of white bars.

The underparts are chestnut, with white patches to the rear of the flanks. Outside the breeding season, the males are a lot duller.

Females have mottled brown upperparts, chestnut underparts, and darkish brown eyes. This species is also called Spoonbill Duck, Shovelbill, Blue-winged Shoveler, and Stinker.

Australasian shoveler, scientific name Spatula rhynchotis


In Western Australia, the Australasian Shoveler will be discovered from the south as much as the North West Cape. In eastern Australia, it may be discovered from as far south as Tasmania to Cairns within the north. It can also be present in New Zealand.


The Australasian Shoveler is present in all types of wetlands, preferring massive undisturbed closely vegetated freshwater swamps. It can also be discovered on open waters and infrequently alongside the coast.


The Australasian Shoveler is a filter feeder, utilizing particular lamellae (grooves) alongside the perimeters of the bill to filter bugs, crustaceans, and quite a lot of crops from the water.

This specialized bill limits the Shoveler’s foraging range to aquatic habitats on open water or soft mud in fertile wetlands.

Australasian shoveler, scientific name Spatula rhynchotis

Australasian shoveler Reproduction

Courtship in New Zealand begins around August which entails vocalizations from the drake (male) accompanied with head-bobbing while swimming towards the duck (feminine).

The most heard vocalizations are from the drakes within the type of a “Sock, sock-sock, sock, sock-sock”. Often a number of drakes will pursue an already paired duck: Generally, the mated males are aggressive and won’t tolerate this behavior from the bachelors, and preventing might ensue.

Courtship flights are common within the morning and evenings largely, the place the duck is adopted in a short fast flight by one or more (normally two) drakes.

This tests the velocity and agility of the drakes. The duck could also be biased in selecting the ‘winner’ in these exams nevertheless, particularly if she has paired with one of many opponents.

She will even generally excrete mid-flight on a pursuing male if he’s particularly to not her fancy. There is a transparent and unexplained sex ratio distinction with so much more males to females.

This distinction shouldn’t be present in broods of ducklings nevertheless. Males with lots of white breast feathers will not be normally paired.

These white feathers are sometimes an indication of an older shoveler as first-year males nearly by no means have them. Mating will happen as early as August, although nesting not often occurs till not less than October.


The destruction of its wetland habitat is a menace to the shoveler.

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