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Any of four species (genus Anas, family Anatidae) of dabbling ducks having a long, spoon-shaped bill. The migratory northern shoveler (A. clypeata) inhabits shallow marshes and lagoons in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The male has a green head, white breast, chestnut belly and sides, and a blue patch on the forewing. It uses its bill to sift small organisms and seeds from the mud; in deeper waters, it skims the surface for plankton. The other species are the South American red shoveler (A. platalea); the Cape, or Smith's, shoveler (A. smithii) of South Africa; and the Australasian, or blue-winged, shoveler (A. rhynchotis).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on shoveler, visit Britannica.com.