Red shoveler (Anas platalea)

loading
Red shoveler
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Red shoveler fact file

Red shoveler description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderAnseriformes
FamilyAnatidae
GenusAnas (1)

The red shoveler is an attractive South American duck with a large, distinctive, spatula-shaped beak (3) (4) (5), from which it gains its species name, platalea, meaning ‘spoonbill’ (4). Both during and outside of the breeding season, the male red shoveler has a pale reddish-chestnut to deeper reddish-brown body, profusely marked with round black spots, and a contrasting pale buff head, which is finely stippled with black, particularly on the crown. The chin and throat are more lightly marked and may appear whitish. The lower back and rump are blackish, as are some of the wing feathers, which are slightly elongated and have conspicuous white margins. The tail is also blackish with white outer feathers, and is relatively long and pointed (3) (4) (5), while the upperwing bears a light blue patch, separated from the iridescent green speculum by a broad white bar (2) (3) (4) (5). The undersides of the wings are white (4) (5). The beak is black and the legs and feet are grey to yellowish or orange (3) (4) (5).

The female red shoveler has a buffy, brown-spotted head and underparts, a whitish throat, a dark brown back with lighter feather edgings, and a dark tail, with creamy white edges. The blue patch on the wing is much duller than in the male and the white bar is reduced, while the speculum is blackish. The female also has a browner bill and dark brown eyes, in contrast to the distinctive white to light yellow eyes of the male (3) (4) (5). Juveniles resemble the female, although juvenile males have a brighter speculum (2) (3) (4). The male red shoveler gives a hollow tuk-tuk call, while the female gives a harsh quack (3) (4).

Also known as
Argentine shoveler, blue-winged shoveler, South American shoveler.
Size
Length: 45 - 56 cm (2) (3)
Wingspan: 66 - 73 cm (3)
Weight
523 - 608 g (2)
Top

Red shoveler biology

The red shoveler is usually found in pairs or small groups (2) (4), although larger flocks may form when the birds are moulting (4). A poor walker on land (4), this species usually feeds in the water by dabbling, head-dipping and upending, filtering water or mud with the beak to obtain tiny aquatic invertebrates. The diet also includes seeds and other parts of aquatic plants (2) (4), and in winter birds have been recorded taking worms, insects, molluscs and even small frogs (4).

The breeding season begins in September or October (2) (4) and the nest is built on the ground, being constructed from twigs, aquatic plants, reeds and dry grass (4). Five to eight eggs are laid and are incubated by the female. The eggs hatch after around 25 days (2) (4), and it is likely that the female alone provides care for the ducklings (4). The red shoveler is thought to first breed at about a year old (4).

Top

Red shoveler range

The red shoveler occurs in southern South America, from southern Peru, Bolivia, south-eastern Brazil and Paraguay south to Tierra del Fuego (2) (3) (4) (5) (6). It is also occasionally recorded on the Falkland Islands (2) (4) (5) (6). This species is partially migratory, with birds in the south of the range moving northwards during winter (2) (3) (4).

Top

Red shoveler habitat

This species inhabits both fresh and brackish waters, including shallow ponds, lakes, marshes, estuaries and coastal lagoons. It occurs at elevations of up to around 3,400 metres in the Andes Mountains (2) (3) (4) (5).

Top

Red shoveler status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

Top

Red shoveler threats

The red shoveler is a relatively common and widespread species, and is not currently considered at risk of extinction (6). However, it may suffer to an extent from the degradation of its wetland habits, and is also hunted in some areas (4), although it is generally regarded as unpalatable (3).

Top

Red shoveler conservation

There are no known conservation measures currently targeted at this widespread duck.

ARKive is supported by OTEP, a joint programme of funding from the UK FCO and DFID which provides support to address priority environmental issues in the Overseas Territories, and Defra
Top

Find out more

For more information on the conservation of waterfowl see:

To find out more about conservation in the Falkland Islands and other UK Overseas Territories, see:

For more information on this and other bird species please see:

Top

Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

Top

Glossary

Brackish
Slightly salty water, usually a mixture of salt and freshwater, such as that found in estuaries.
Incubate
To keep eggs warm so that development is possible.
Invertebrates
Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones), echinoderms, and others.
Molluscs
A diverse group of invertebrates, mainly marine, that have one or all of the following; a horny, toothed ribbon in the mouth (the radula), a shell covering the upper surface of the body, and a mantle or mantle cavity with a type of gill. Includes snails, slugs, shellfish, octopuses and squid.
Moult
Periodic shedding of (usually) the outermost body covering (such as feathers, fur or skin) during growth and development, or at specific times of the year.
Speculum
In birds, a distinct patch of brightly coloured feathers, often iridescent or metallic in appearance, found on the secondary feathers of the wing (the shorter flight feathers along the inner edge of the wing).
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2010)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1992) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. Ogilvie, M.A. and Young, S. (2002) Photographic Handbook: Wildfowl of the World. New Holland Publishers, London.
  4. Kear, J. (2005) Ducks, Geese and Swans. Volume 2: Species Accounts (Cairina to Mergus). Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. Blake, E.R. (1977) Manual of Neotropical Birds. Volume 1: Spheniscidae (Penguins) to Laridae (Gulls and Allies). University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
  6. BirdLife International (September, 2010)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=446&m=0
X
Close

Image credit

Red shoveler  
Red shoveler

© Gabriel Rojo / naturepl.com

Nature Picture Library
5a Great George Street
Bristol
BS1 5RR
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 117 911 4675
Fax: +44 (0) 117 911 4699
info@naturepl.com
http://www.naturepl.com

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Red shoveler (Anas platalea) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog