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< >  Anas rhynchotis - Australian shoveler (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Australasian shoveler
Blue-winged shoveler
Southern shoveler
Spoonbill
Halbmond-Löffelente (German)
Australische Löffelente (German)
Canard bridé (French)
Souchet d’Australie (French)
Cuchara Australiano (Spanish)
Pato cuchara de Australia y Zelandia (Spanish)
Anas rhynchotis rhynchotis Australian shoveler
Anas rhynchotis variegata New Zealand shoveler

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

Eclipse.

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B3, B5, B8, B19, B25, B26.

Aviculture references:
B7, B29, B30, B40, B94, B128.w1, B128.w2, B139
D1, D8

Other References

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information

Notes

General Information:
  • Dabbling Ducks are generally hardy, easy to maintain and easy to breed. Shelter may be required by some of the smaller species in winter. They should be provided with cover (including marginal pond cover) and loafing areas as well as water. A pen which is 50% water is suggested. The water may be shallow (i.e. no more than two feet deep is required), and muddy areas for dabbling in are also appreciated. These ducks are generally good in mixed collections, although the smaller and quieter species may be bullied. Territorial disputes between ducks of the same species may be avoided by keeping only one pair of each species in an enclosure, unless the area is very large. For a single pair of ducks a pen are of 50 to 100 square metres, depending on the size of duck, should be provided.
  • A diet based on wheat and pellets is suggested, with maintenance pellets changed to breeders pellets for the breeding season. Bread and greenfood are also appreciated. Grit should always be available, with soluble grit (e.g. oystershell grit) as a calcium source when breeding.
  • Most species are ground nesters and both close ground cover and ground level nest boxes should be provided. Hand-rearing is generally preferred, as these ducks are generally poor parents in captive conditions, particularly in enclosures shared with other waterfowl. These ducks are prone to hybridization, particularly with closely related species, which should be kept apart from one another.

(B7, B29, B30, B40, B94, B128.w1, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • Australian shovelers should be provided with a good area (minimum 60 square metres, more prefered) of fairly shallow muddy water and good marginal pond cover. They may be fed as other waterfowl, with grain, pellets, greenfood and bread, although a higher protein level (20-22%) than for most Anas species is suggested (B139).
  • These ducks are difficult to breed; islands are prefered for nesting, nest April to May, in close ground cover.
  • The ducklings are not particularly easy to rear. Baby rice cereal and a sloppy preparation of starter crumbs in water has been suggested for the first few weeks, with some small seeds added in after this time. Added small-sized live food may be useful (B139).

(B29, B30, B128.w2, B139)

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme recommended average ring size: K 10.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 18-22 inches, 46-56cm (B3, B1).
Adult weight General 545-852g (B1)
Male Anas rhynchotis rhynchotis 570-852g average 667g (B3).

Both races mean 1.4 lbs. (B8).

Female Anas rhynchotis rhynchotis 545-745g average 665g (B3).

Both races mean 1.4 lbs. (B8).

Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Black.
Variations (If present) Female: Brown.
Eyes (Iris) Male Yellow.
Variations(If present) Female: Brown.
Juvenile Bill Brown.
Eyes (Iris) Brown.

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Legs

Adult Male Orange.
Variations (If present) Yellow-brown.
Juvenile Yellow-brown.

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Plumage

Adult Male Head and neck grey-blue, with blackish crown and white/mottled crescent in front of eyes. Breast brownish, feathers marked subterminally with white and black, abdomen and flanks rufous-chestnut with black scallop markings, sides of ventral region white or vermiculated black and white, rump, tail-coverts and central tail blackish, sides of tail whitish. Upperparts brown-black with pale feather borders, white streaks on longer scapulars and elongated tertials.

Wing has primaries dark brown, coverts grey-blue with greater coverts white tipped, secondaries metallic green/black.

Variations (If present) Female: head and neck buff-brown, dark crown and eyestripe and fine dark streaking. Body plumage dark brown with paler feather edges, tail brown with buff sides. Primaries dark brown, coverts duller grey-blue, greater coverts narrowly white tipped, secondaries duller metallic green/black.

Eclipse: similar to female, flanks redder, breast may retail white colouration, wing and eye colours remain.

Anas rhynchotis variegata less barring on flanks, cleaner white crescent in front of eyes.

Juvenile Similar to female but paler, markings less distinct.

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts dark brown with yellow markings, underparts yellow, dark eyestripe and indistinct patch below eye.
Bill: Dark grey.
Feet: Dark grey.

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Begins August-December in coastal areas of Australia, more variable inland; begins October in New Zealand.
No. of Clutches --

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Nest placement and structure

Usually near water in some vegetation, a depression (occasionally the top of a hollow stump) with dead grass and some down lining.

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 9-11 (B1).
Range 9-13 (B1); 9-11 (B8).
Egg Description Creamy.

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Incubation

24-26 days (B1, B8).

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Hatching

Synchronous.

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Fledging

8-10 weeks (B1); 56-70 days (B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males One year old.
Females One year old.

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dabble, filter water and mud, head-dip, upend, snatch at insects.
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Solitary nests or in small groups.
Incubation By female.
Newly-hatched Tended by female.
Juveniles

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Often found in small groups.
Inter-specific May be found in small groups within larger flocks of other duck species.

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Sexual Behaviour

Pair bonds probably established or renewed each year.

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Predation in Wild

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Activity Patterns

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Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

Aquatic insects (e.g. beetles, water boatmen), small molluscs and crustaceans, seeds and plant debris.

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Newly-hatched

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Anas rhynchotis rhynchotis south-western and south-eastern Australia, Tasmania

Anas rhynchotis variegata New Zealand

Some dispersal depending on habitat conditions. Anas rhynchotis variegata reaches Auckland Islands.

Occasional and Accidental

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Introduced

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Habitat

Shallow freshwater lakes and marshes, densely vegetated lakes preferred. Also temporary flooded areas and coasts.

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

Anas rhynchotis rhynchotis Australian shoveler
Anas rhynchotis variegata New Zealand shoveler

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Not threatened, with a stable New Zealand population, although not common across Australia (B1).

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats --

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Captive Populations

Not very common in collections (B8).

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Trade

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