The shoveler is a resident and winter migrant, occurring mostly between October and March.
It has a very distinctive large spatula-like bill. The adult male has an iridescent dark green head, white breast and brown belly and flanks. Pale blue feathers can also be seen when the bird is in flight. The female is mottled brown and looks a lot like a female mallard, but can be distinguished by the broad bill.
The shoveler feeds by dabbling for plant food, often swinging its bill from side to side and straining food from the water. They also forage for aquatic invertebrates. Their favoured habitat is mud-bottomed marshes - where there is an abundant supply of aquatic invertebrates.
The shoveler nests on the ground in grassy areas away from open water. Males are very territorial during breeding season, defending their territory and partners from competing males.
The shoveler is red-listed in Ireland due to moderate recent decline.
Image (c) by Dick Daniels used under Creative Commons License BY-SA 3.0.