Cape shoveler

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Cape shoveler
Cape Shoveler RWD.jpg
Male
Cape Shoveler female RWD.jpg
Female
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Anatinae
Genus: Anas
Species: A. smithii
Binomial name
Anas smithii
(Hartert, 1891)

The Cape shoveler (Anas smithii) formerly known as Cape shoveller is a species of dabbling duck of the genus Anas. It is resident in South Africa, and uncommon further north in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, southern Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Zambia.[1][2]

This 51–53 cm long duck is non-migratory, but undertakes some local seasonal movements. It is gregarious when not breeding, and may then form large flocks.

This species has a large spatulate bill. Adults have speckled grey-brown plumage and dull orange legs. As with many southern hemisphere ducks, the sexes appear similar, but the male has a paler head than the female, a pale blue forewing separated from the green speculum by a white border, and yellow eyes. The female's forewing is grey.

Cape shoveler can only be confused with a vagrant female northern shoveler, but is much darker and stockier than that species.[2]

It is a bird of open wetlands, such as wet grassland or marshes with some emergent vegetation, and feeds by dabbling for plant food, often by swinging its bill from side to side to strain food from the water.[2] This bird also eats molluscs and insects in the nesting season. The nest is a shallow depression on the ground, lined with plant material and down, and usually close to water.

This is a fairly quiet species. The male has rarr and cawick calls, whereas the female has a quack.[2]

The binomial name of this bird commemorates the zoologist Andrew Smith.

The status of the Cape shoveler is Least Concern.[1]

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