Red Shoveler




Red Shoveler in South America

Scientific name: Anas platalea

Family: Anatidae

Spanish name: Pato cuchara

Migration: Partial Neotropical migrant

Population estimate: 25,000-100,000

Trend: Stable

Ramsar Criterion 6 (1% level): 1,000

IUCN Conservation status: Not known to have unfavourable conservation status


Distribution and abundances

Distributes in southern South America, from Tierra del Fuego and Malvinas / Falkland Islands to south-eastern Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and southern Peru. Highest abundances recorded in central Chile and within inland Patagonia (moulting and staging sites are lakes of inland Santa Cruz province, in Argentina) and the Pampas of Argentina (link to Abundances map). Sites reaching the 1% threshold (Ramsar Convention Criterion No. 6), between others are: Tranque San Rafael and Batuco, in central Chile, and Laguna Los Huaicos, Lagunas cloacales near Trelew city (Chubut province), Laguna Las Tunas, Laguna Mar Chiquita and Bañados del Río Dulce, Laguna La Brava, Laguna Melincué, Laguna La Salada and Laguna Miramar in Argentina.


Migration and seasonality

Southern population migrates northward in austral autumn / winter to northern Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and as far as southeastern Brazil and southern Peru. Northward migration occurs along the western, central and eastern Argentina routes. Some populations spend the whole year in Patagonia (link to Seasonality map).



Shallow brackish and fresh-water lakes, lagoons and marshes with dense vegetation. Also in flooded grasslands, estuaries and tidal creeks, streams and sewer lagoons. Less common in marine coasts.


Habits and interactions with human activities

Gregarious, sometimes in groups of hundreds during the non-breeding season and in mixed flocks with other duck species. In Patagonia recorded in big numbers in urban lagoons and sewer lagoons. High grazing of sheep and goat has reduced the breeding success of Patagonian populations.



Albrieu, C., S. Imberti & S. Ferrari. 2004. Las aves de la Patagonia Sur - El Estuario del Río Gallegos y zonas aledañas. Ed. Univ. Nac. Patagonia Austral, Río Gallegos. 204 pp.

Canevari, M., P. Canevari, G.R. Carrizo, G. Harris, J. Rodríguez Mata & R. Straneck. 1991. Nueva Guía de las Aves Argentinas. Fundación Acindar. Santiago de Chile. Tome I: 200 pp. and Tome II: 182 pp.

del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds). 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 1. Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Ed., Barcelona.

Fjeldsa, J. & N. Krabbe. 1990. Birds of the High Andes. Zoological Museum, Univ. of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Narosky, T. & D. Yzurieta. 1987. Guía para la identificación de las aves de Argentina y Uruguay. Asoc. Ornitológica del Plata. Vázquez Manzini Ed. Buenos Aires. 345 pp.

Olrog, C.C. 1963. Lista y distribución de las aves argentinas. Opera Lilloana IX, Tucumán.

Olrog, C.C. 1968. Las aves sudamericanas: Una guía de campo. Tomo I. Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Fundación - Instituto Miguel Lillo, Tucumán, Argentina.

Rodríguez Mata, J., F. Erize & M. Rumboll. 2006. Guía de Campo Collins – Aves de Sudamérica: No Passeriformes. Harper Collins Ltd.

Wetlands International. 2006. Waterbird Population Estimates – Fourth Edition. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Woods, R.W. & Anne Woods. 1997. Atlas of Breeding birds of the Falkland Islands. Anthony Nelson, England. 190 pp.




Authors: Daniel E. Blanco, Román Baigún & Bernabé López-Lanús

Data compiler: Ignacio Roesler

Photographer: Roberto Güller

Recommended citation: Blanco D.E., R. Baigún & B. López-Lanús. 2008. Red Shoveler in South America factsheet. Wetlands International for the Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance / WCS / USAID.



Click on the link to download the factsheet in pdf format: Red Shoveler



Click on the map to enlarge