Spatula clypeata, Lin.
957. Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 796 ; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. IV, p. 27 ; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 437; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 290 ; Game Birds of India, Vol. III, p. 141; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 137.
Length, 19.7 to 21.75 ; expanse, 29.75 to 32.5 ; wing, 9 to 9.8; tail, 3.6 to 4; tarsus, 1.2 to 1.5; bill from gape, 2.95 to 3.05 ; weight, 1 3/16 to 1 14/16 lbs.
Length, 18 to 19 ; expanse, 27 to 29.5 ; wing, 8 to 8.9; tail, 3.5 to 3.85 ; tarsus, 1.2 to 1.4 ; bill from gape, 2.65 to 2.87; weight, 1 to 1 7/16 lbs.
Bill black, or leaden-dusky; in the female dark brown ; irides vary from yellow to brown and reddish-orange ; legs and feet vary from orange to Indian-red.
Male, head and upper part of the neck deep brown, with glossy green reflections; back dark umber-brown; scapulars white; rump and upper tail-coverts brown, glossed with blackish-green ; the sides of the rump white ; tail brown, the feathers edged with white, and the outer one wholly white ; lesser wing-coverts pale greyish-blue; median, tipped with white; greater-coverts, forming the speculum, brilliant green; primaries umber-brown ; tertials rich purplish-black; lower neck and breast white; abdomen brownish-red ; lower tail-coverts brown, glossed with blackish-green.
The female has the head pale reddish-brown with fine dusky streaks; the rest of the upper parts dark brown, the feathers' edged with reddish-white; lesser wing-coverts slightly tinged with pale blue ; speculum not so bright as in the male ; under parts reddish, with large round spots.
Towards the end of summer the male puts on a peculiar livery, something like that of the female, but with the head black.
The Shoveller is very common throughout the district, but it does not appear in such immense flocks as so many of the other ducks do, preferring to form small parties ; it affects the edges of tanks in preference to open water. It is not a nice eating duck, and is not much sought after by sportsmen.