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DescriptionThe shoveler is named for its extraordinary oversized bill, which has a broad spatula-shaped tip. Both sexes have this feature, but the drake (male) shoveler, in his flamboyant breeding plumage, is easily distinguishable from the female. He has a bottle-green head (rather like the drake mallard), a white chest, chestnut flanks and black primary wing feathers and tail. The upper shoulder of the wing has a prominent sapphire blue flash. In the late summer, the drake loses his finery, and goes into 'eclipse plumage' after moulting. Both sexes then appear mottled brown, although the drake can be identified by a white streak just in front of the eye. Immature birds are similar in appearance to birds in this eclipse phase but look somewhat darker. Shovelers belong to the family Anatidae or dabbling ducks, and this describes their feeding behaviour exactly. Shovelers rarely 'up-end' like mallard and other surface-feeding ducks. However, they will dive if disturbed.