Cape Shoveler | Anas smithii

The Cape Shoveler is a beautiful duck species that is near-endemic to Southern Africa.

Robert's Birding Information: Cape Shoveler

Cape Shoveler DuckThe Cape Shoveler is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Anatidae bird family group which includes birds such as Ducks, Geese.

The description for the Cape Shoveler (Latin name Anas smithii) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Anas smithii can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 112 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 108. You will find a picture of the Cape Shoveler on page 96.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Cape Shoveler in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Cape Shoveler between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Cape Shoveler is known in Afrikaans as Kaapse Slopeend.

The Cape Shoveler is Endemic to the Southern African Region which means that this bird is only found in this region and nowhere else in the world.

The Cape Shoveler has a height of 53 cms and weighs around 645 gms. The head is coloured grey, brown while the bill is coloured black. The Anas smithii has a black, brown coloured throat, brown legs and a black, brown coloured back. The eyes are yellow.

The male Anas smithii has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is grey, brown.

Eyes are yellow.

Bill is black.

Legs are brown.

Throat is black, brown.

Back is black, brown.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult Adult male Cape Shoveler duck
Female Adult  
Juvenile Similar to female.
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

Cape Shoveler Feeding Habits ...

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Cape Shoveler Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Cape Shoveler is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 eggs and they are coloured cream.

The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.

The Cape Shoveler is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

Nomadic, in pairs and is sometimes seen in flocks.