Northern shoveler in Uganda

Northern shoveler in Uganda

April 25, 2022

Northern shoveler is referred as a Spatula clypeata. This is a migratory bird that breeds in northern areas of Europe and across the Palearctic and North America; the Northern shoveler can be seen in Nakiwogo Bay and Lutembe Bay on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda.

Facts about the Northern Shover

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Anseriformes

Family: Anatidae

Genus: Spatula

The northern shover is unmistakable in the northern hemisphere due to its large spatulate bill. The breeding drake has an iridescent dark green head, white breast and chestnut belly, and flanks.

The pale blue forewing feathers are revealed in flight and they are separated from the green speculum by a white border.  In early fall the male will have a white crescent on each side of the face while in non-breeding (eclipse) plumage, the drake resembles the female.

The female is a drab mottled brown like other dabblers, with plumage much like a female mallard, but easily distinguished by the long broad bill, which is gray tinged with orange on cutting edge and lower mandible. The female’s forewing is gray.

The Northern shoveler prefers to nest in grassy areas away from open water and its nest is a shallow depression on the ground, built from plant material.

The females typically lay about nine eggs. These birds are very territorial during the breeding season and they defend their territory and partners from competing males. The ducks also engage in elaborate courtship behaviors, both on the water and in the air; it is not uncommon for a dozen or more males to pursue a single hen. Despite their stout appearance, shovelers are nimble fliers.

The Northern shoveler is a fairly quiet species in Uganda. The male has a clunking call while the female has a Mallard-like quack.

The Northern shoveler is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

Book your Uganda birding trip with Africa Adventure Vacations to spot several bird species.

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