The Shoveler is characterized by a long, narrow body that floats low in the water. It has a distinctive heavy, blue-black shovel-tipped bill, a low sloping forehead and a golden eye. In breeding plumage, its head is a deep grey-blue with a vertical patch of white along the side of the bill. The back and rump are dark, and the shoulder and wing coverts are blue-grey, barred with white. The under parts are chestnut, and it has a large white rump patch. When they are not breeding they are much duller coloured. Females are mottled and brown with chestnut under parts, and a brown eye. The juvenile is similar but darker than the female.
The New Zealand Shoveler is found in wetlands-mostly large undisturbed freshwater swamps with dense reed beds. It is also found on shallow lakes and coastal lagoons. ~ Bernard