Blue-winged Shoveler (Australasian Shoveler)

Map showing the Australian distribution of the Blue-winged shoveler.

*Important note; the Blue-winged Shoveler can not be hunted this duck season*

The Blue-winged Shoveler prefers permanent, well-vegetated wetlands with areas of open water. Habitat may be freshwater or saline. Usually an uncommon duck, the Blue-winged Shoveler is distributed throughout south-eastern and south-western Australia, preferring inland cumbungi swamps and coastal tea-tree swamps.


The Blue-winged Shoveler is a game species and is available for recreational hunting in Victoria. Note, however, that the Blue-winged Shoveler can not be hunted this duck season. Please read Fact Sheet for more details.


The Blue-winged Shoveler is a distinctive species with a slender build and a broad, blue-grey bill. The male is more colourful than the female and has a blue-grey head and neck, white face crescent, black back, a white patch on the rump and a deep chestnut-coloured belly. The colouring of the male fades when not in breeding condition. The male has bright yellow to orange legs and feet and is the only native duck to do so. The female is predominantly brown with a light chestnut-coloured belly.

In flight, the Blue-winged Shoveler has very quick wing beats with a distinctive whirr, white underwings, large pale patches on upperwing and the male has bright orange legs. In flight, the Blue-winged Shoveler appears much darker than other waterfowl and the wedge-shaped head is obvious.

On the water, the Blue-winged Shoveler is a medium-sized duck which floats low, has a distinctive wedge-shaped head and the male has a white patch on its rump


Blue-winged Shovelers are seldom heard but do have a soft chatter when flying.


Here are some images of the Blue-winged Shoveler.

Close up of Blue-winged shoveler wings and head showing markings for male and female. Diagrams of Blue-winged Shoveler in profile male and female.

Video footage

Video footage of the Blue-winged Shoveler is attached below.