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Scientific name : Spatula clypeata
Family : Anatides
Leng. 44 to 52 cm, Wing. 70 to 85 cm
The Northern Shoveler is a surface dabbling duck. It is characterized by a massive bill, elongated, flattened and widened at its end in the shape of a small spatula. Like the other anatidae, the species has a sexual dimorphism that results in a particularly colorful plumage for males during the nuptial period that runs from October to June. The legs are red. The female is duller, colored.
The particular shape of its beak allows it to filter the surface of the water, to feed on tiny algae and plants, as well as tiny animals.
The Northern Shoveler is silent outside the breeding season. It is audible only in spring, the male by a series of "touk touk" and the female of "gack gack".
Couples form during the winter, nest in the vegetation near the water. The laying takes place in April-May. The female builds the nest by forming a cup wiggling on the ground. It lays 8 to 12 eggs and then incubates them alone for 21 to 23 days. The female assures only the breeding of the young.
The Northern Shoveler is present in France especially during the winter, birds are concentrated at this time on a few sites: the Camargue, Lake of Grand-Lieu, the estuary of the Loire, the Gulf of Morbihan or the ponds of the Brenne. Some continue their migration to spend the winter in Spain, North Africa or tropical Africa.
This species is huntable but is protected under the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement. In North America, this species is protected under the US Migratory Bird Convention of 1918.