Status: Resident & winter migrant. Most occur between October and March. Wintering birds originate from breeding populations which range across France, northern Europe, the Baltic and western Russia. Ireland and northern Britain also support the small Icelandic breeding population during the winter.
Conservation Concern: Red-listed (National, BoCCI), SPEC 3 declining, moderate recent decline (Europe)
Identification: Medium to large sized with a long and broad bill. Males with green head, white breast, chestnut belly and flanks, blue upper forewing. Females similar to Mallard but distinguished by the bill and darker brown belly.
Similar Species: Males could be confused with Shelduck. Females resemble other female dabbling ducks.
Call: Disyllabic nasal knocking call of male when flushed. Female similar though more wheezy 'kerr-ash'.
Diet: Feed predominantly on zooplankton which are found mostly on ephemeral wetlands, particularly turloughs and callows. They also feed on small molluscs, insects and larvae, seeds and plant material and are frequently seen dabbling around the edges of waterpools.
Breeding: Nests on the ground among waterside vegetation, often many nests in close proximity. Breeding in Ireland is centred around Lough Neagh and the mid- Shannon basin.
Wintering: Shoveler prefer shallow eutrophic waters rich in plankton, and occur on a variety of habitats while wintering in Ireland, including coastal estuaries, lagoons and inland lakes and callows.
Where to See: Ballyallia Lake in County Clare, Little Brosna Callows in County Offaly, Southern Roscommon Lakes in County Roscommon and Lough Rea in County Galway are among the top wintering sites (200-400 birds).
Monitored by: Irish Wetland Bird Survey.