Anas is a genus of dabbling ducks. It includes mallards, wigeons, teals, pintails and shovelers in a number of subgenera. Some authorities prefer to elevate the subgenera to genus rank. Indeed, as the moa-nalos are very close to this clade and may have evolved later than some of these lineages, it is rather the absence of a thorough review than lack of necessity that this genus is rather over-lumped. The phylogeny of this genus is one of the most confounded ones of all living birds. Research is hampered by the fact the radiation of the two major groups of Anas ? the teals and mallard groups ? took place in a very short time and fairly recently, roughly in the mid-late Pleistocene. Furthermore, hybridization may have long played a major role in Anas evolution, with within-subgenus hybrids regularly and between-subgenus hybrids not infrequently being fully fertile. The relationships between species are much obscured by this fact, and mtDNA sequence data is of dubious value in resolving their relationships; on the other hand, nuclear DNA sequences evolve too slowly to resolve the phylogeny of the subgenus Anas for example. Some major clades can be discerned. For example, that the traditional subgenus Anas, the mallard group, forms a monophyletic (in the loose sense, i.e. non-holophyletic) group has never been seriously questioned by modern science and is as good as confirmed (but see below). On the other hand, the phylogeny of the teals is very confusing. For these reasons, the dabbling duck lineages more distantly related to mallard group (which includes the type species of Anas) than the wigeons should arguably be separated in their own genera. These would include the Baikal Teal, the Garganey, the spotted black-capped Punanetta group, and the shovelers and other blue-winged species. Whether the wigeons, which are very distinct in morphology and behavior, but much less so in mtDNA cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 sequences, should also be considered a distinct genus Mareca (including the Gadwall and Falcated Duck) is essentially the one remaining point of dispute as regards the question which taxa should remain in this genus and which ones should not.
Northern Shovelers rarely tip up, but filter mud through their bills, swimming with their heads outstretched, bills skimming the water’s surface, sifting out food. In flight they stay in tight bunches, weaving to and fro like shorebirds. Shovelers are very territorial, and pair bonds remain intact through incubation, unlike most other species of ducks.
Listen to the sound of Northern Shoveler
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
|wingspan min.:||73||cm||wingspan max.:||82||cm|
|size min.:||44||cm||size max.:||52||cm|
|incubation min.:||22||days||incubation max.:||23||days|
|fledging min.:||40||days||fledging max.:||23||days|
Video Northern Shoveler
Anas clypeata is widespread breeder across much of Europe, which accounts for less
than a quarter of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is
large (>170,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although no trend data
were available for the stronghold in Russia during 1990-2000, several countries-
notably the Netherlands-suffered marked declines, and the species probably
underwent a moderate decline (>10%) overall.
This duck inhabits North America and northern Eurasia. For practical reasons its populations of the European Union can be subdivided in two distinct sub-populations, separated by their wintering quarters. The first, totalling about 40000 individuals and apparently stable, is wintering in the Atlantic regions from Denmark to the British Isles and Aquitaine. The second population is estimated at 450000 individuals, but its current trends are unknown. It winters in the Black Sea region, the Mediterranean and West Africa.